On July 3, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated and reaffirmed a decision that it had previously vacated regarding whether employees, without approval of a court or the Department of Labor, may settle and release claims, both prospectively and retrospectively, under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The 4th Circuit had initially held in Taylor v. Progress Energy Inc. (Taylor I) that an employee could not settle a claim under the FMLA without approval of a court or the DOL.

Following the 4th Circuit’s decision in Taylor I, Progress Energy filed a petition for rehearing en banc. At that point, the DOL entered the fray and filed an amicus brief in support of the petition. In its amicus brief, the DOL indicated that it disagreed with the Taylor I panel’s interpretation of the DOL regulation at issue. The 4th Circuit granted a panel rehearing with the DOL participating in this hearing.

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