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New York Court Explains Class Certification in Cases Alleging Wage and Hour Violations

October 6, 2020

In many instances, an employer that fails to abide by the law with regard to employee wages will not only shortchange one employee but will engage in a practice of underpaying staff members. Thus, in many cases, aggrieved employees may be able to file a class-action lawsuit against the employer, seeking damages for wage and hour violations. Simply because an employer failed to pay appropriate wages to more than one employee does not mean a basis exists to pursue a class action case, though. Rather, as discussed in a recent New York case, the plaintiff must prove certain elements before a court will grant class certification. If you were not paid the wages you are owed from your employer, you should speak to an assertive New York wage and hour violation attorney to determine whether you and other employees may be owed compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the named plaintiffs were employed as food runners and as a sommelier with the defendant restaurant. They frequently worked in excess of forty hours per week and worked a spread of ten or more hours, for which they were not paid a spread of hours premium, and were required to perform non-tipped side work despite the fact that a tip credit was taken from their wages. The plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against the defendant, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs then filed a motion to certify the class.

Certification of a Class in a Wage and Hour Violation Case

The court explained that class certification in federal cases is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Specifically, FRCP 25(a) requires that the party seeking certification demonstrate typicality, commonality, numerosity, and adequacy of representation. A plaintiff seeking class certification must also meet one of the requirements of FRCP 25(b) as well. In the subject case, the plaintiffs sought certification pursuant to FRCP 25(b)(3), which required them to show that question of fact or law common to all of the class members predominates over issues that affect individual members.

Pursuant to FRCP 25(b)(3), the court must also find that class action is superior to other means of adjudication in granting a motion to certify a class. Predominance is present in cases in which the resolution of the factual or legal questions presented as a genuine controversy can be achieved through the presentation of generalized proof, and if those questions presented are more substantial than the issues subject to individualized proof. Here, the court found that the plaintiffs had met their burden under FRCP 25. Thus, the court certified the class.

Discuss Your Potential Claims With a Skillful New York Attorney

If your employer failed to pay you the money you are owed for time worked, you may be able to assert claims in a civil lawsuit and should speak to an attorney. The skillful New York wage and hour violation attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP have ample experience handling claims for employees who were not properly paid, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you strive for just results. You can reach us at our Manhattan office by calling (212) 227-7070 or at our Garden City office by calling (516) 880-8170, or you can reach us through our form online to set up a meeting.

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