Many workers feel they have been mistreated at work through unlawful discrimination, wage and hour violations or other wrongful actions from their employers. Some may want to file a legal claim, but fear taking on powerful interests by themselves. In some cases, a class action claim is a way for these workers to pool their resources in an effort to receive justice.
Defining the class
A class action claim may be appropriate when an entity, such as an employer, has harmed a group of similarly situated victims in a similar way. Rather than bringing many single lawsuits, it may be preferable to bring a single class action lawsuit on behalf of all of those harmed. One example is for a group of employees who have been harmed by an employer’s unfair and illegal wage and hour practices to bring a class action lawsuit against the employer.
When a class action claim is brought, a representative plaintiff for the class will need to be selected. In addition, for a class of victims to bring a class action claim, the class must be certified by the court. To meet the standard for certification, the class seeking to bring the claim must meet certain requirements.
These requirements can include that the harm suffered by the representative plaintiff is the same as that suffered by prospective members of the class; that the class is clearly defined enough to the extent it will be possible and practical to identify class members; the harm suffered by potential class members resulted from a common set of facts and legal theories and is similar enough to the harm suffered by the representative plaintiff that the absence of other victims at trial will not be a problem; that the class is large enough that it would be impractical to litigate each claim on its own; and that a class action claim would be the most efficient way to resolve the claims of the class.
Defending against a class action suit
For employers, defending against a class action suit is in some ways easier and less expensive than defending against multiple claims from individual workers. However, class action cases can be highly complex. It’s important for businesses to speak to attorneys who have experience in class actions related to employment law.