A Wage Claim Settlement Tip
Wage claim inquires come to my firm from a variety of sources. I am fortunate that other attorneys (and law firms) trust me and my firm to handle the wage and overtime inquires they get, and to handle the wage claims they identify. I receive referrals from all sorts of attorneys, but particularly those with workers’ compensation and personal injury practices. Most often, claims are identified while those attorneys are reviewing the wage losses suffered (or to be suffered) by their clients. Other times, they get new inquiries about unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, or minimum wages.
I always appreciate the referral of these cases and strive to keep the referring attorney involved in each case, I also am careful to not jeopardize a pending or anticipated claim. Doing so would be a really big headache for everyone.
So, when it comes time to discussing whether and how an unpaid wage, minimum wage, or overtime wage claim can be resolved with either the defendant or his/her/its counsel, I make clear that any settlement will have to allow us to discuss the wage claim and its resolution with the referring counsel, to disclose the terms of the settlement, and that I will be having that referring attorney review the proposed settlement agreement to make sure that the workers’ compensation or personal injury claim (or whatever other claim) is not being released.
I, of course, also try to look for these types of carve-outs, but it makes it much better for me – and give me more peace of mind – to have the attorney whose claim is not being release to let me know that he/she also is comfortable with the release.
This participation by referring counsel is not just to ensure that another pending claim is not being released. Another benefit of inviting participation by referring counsel is transparency: referring counsel knows the status of the claim referred, that he/she is getting credit for the case referred, and that they have the ability to actively participate in the case. Lastly, it never hurts to have another set of eyes look over a release.