October 01, 2020

RLC Highlights Flawed Second Circuit Ruling in SCOTUS Filing

Washington, D.C. – The Restaurant Law Center (RLC) today filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that collective action cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have been subjected to a penalizing standard created by a lower court decision. It states that the standard is not supported by the underlying statute and conflicts with Supreme Court precedent. The brief was filed in support of the petitioners in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. et al. v. Scott et al., case number 20-257. 

The case questions a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that deals with the types of common traits and experiences shared by multiple persons bringing collective or sole action against another party under the FLSA. 

“The Second Circuit appears to have found itself trapped in a false dichotomy, believing that it had only two choices available in selecting the appropriate standard for addressing FLSA decertification,” the Restaurant Law Center brief highlights. 

“We urge the Court to accept this appeal because the Second Circuit’s approach is neither good law nor sound policy,” said Angelo Amador, executive director of the RLC. “Nothing in the text or legislative history of the FLSA’s collective action provision suggests that Congress intended to require courts to take on unmanageable proceedings, flood their dockets, and increase cost and unfairness for all, upon a rudimentary showing that the members of a collective have at least a little bit in common with each other. There is no good reason to construe the FLSA in a manner that requires casting aside sound case management concepts and basic notions of fairness to litigants.”

Three cases outlined in the brief “provide a telling glimpse into what litigation would have looked like if the courts had followed the Second Circuit’s rule and the cases proceeded to trial.”

The RLC brief notes that the lower court’s approach actually undermines how the Supreme Court has ruled on similar and related matters. It also underscores that continuing this interpretation would create a chaotic, crowded, and expensive litigation process for all parties, in conflict with the FLSA’s original history, intent and recent precedent.

Click here to read the full amicus brief. Click here to learn more about the Restaurant Law Center.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.