Can the statute of limitations requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA be fulfilled with the filing of a government claim?

The statute of limitations to file a private lawsuit for unpaid wages under the
Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA is two years after the cause of action accrued
or three years after the cause of action accrued, where the cause of action
arises out of a willful violation. 29 U.S. Code 255a, 5CFR 550.804e3
If the workplace violations occurred in a public entity that is subject to the
FLSA and a wage and hour government claim is filed with the public entity, is
the statute of limitations requirement fulfilled once the claim is filed or must
there be a law suit filed in any state or federal court?

Asked on May 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations is the time frame for filing a lawsuit: if you don't file the actual suit within the statutory period, then even if you have been pursuing some other mechanism for relief/compensation (e.g. a claim before a governmental body), you will generally have violated the SOL and be barred from suing. There are some legal doctrines that can let courts extend the SOL in some cases, for certain good cause, but don't count on that happening (these doctrines are ways to try to "stay in the game" if you have already missed the SOL period; you don't plan on using them, becaue the odds can be long)--if the SOL has not yet expired, the employee should file a lawsuit to preserve his/her ability to do so. The action can be filed then stayed (put on hold) by the court pending the outcome of the other claim.

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