In a decision that caught many employers by surprise, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently held in Taylor v. Progress Energy, Inc., 415 F.3d 364 (4th Cir. 2005), that claims arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. �2601, et seq., including post-dispute claims, cannot be waived or settled via private agreement between an employee and employer. The only other Court of Appeals ever to consider this issue in the dozen years since the FMLA was enacted reached an opposite result. See Faris v. Williams WPC-I, Inc., 332 F.3d 316 (5th Cir. 2003). In light of Taylor, employers inside and outside of the 4th Circuit must now review the language of their general release agreements and evaluate what, if any, changes are needed.

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