Wage and Hour Class Actions
Federal and state wage and hour statutes are designed to ensure that employees are adequately compensated for the work that they complete. Some employers disregard their obligations to comply with the laws, though, and fail to pay their workers appropriately. In many cases, an employer’s refusal to pay workers the wages that they are owed is not an isolated incident but is part of a widespread practice affecting numerous employees. In such instances, workers may be able to file a wage and hour class action lawsuit against their employer to pursue any compensation that they are collectively owed. If your employer failed to pay you without justification, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options. The knowledgeable New York wage and hour attorneys at Gerstman Schwartz can inform you about your possible claims and help you seek the best outcome available in your case.Common Wage and Hour Class Action Claims
Violations of state and federal wage laws often form the basis of class action lawsuits. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL) both establish minimum wage and overtime requirements and other employer obligations with regard to compensation. The FLSA also contains provisions pertaining to off-the-clock work, and the NYLL specifies which breaks employees are permitted to take during their shifts. Usually, an employer’s violation of one or more statutory provisions, like refusing to pay the minimum wage, will affect multiple employees rather than a single person. Thus, affected employees will often band together to pursue claims against the employer. The damages recoverable in a class action lawsuit vary depending on the claims asserted, but they may include back wages, liquidated damages in an amount equal to the unpaid wages, and injunctive relief.Requirements for Pursuing a Class Action Lawsuit
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the employer’s unlawful labor practices, employees may be able to pursue class action claims in federal or state court. Generally, class action litigants prefer to pursue claims in federal court, but some actions can only be filed in state court.
The procedures in federal and state courts are comparable and require proof that a class action lawsuit is appropriate. For example, under federal law, a proposed class must prove numerosity, typicality, commonality, and adequacy of representation. If these requirements are met, a court will consider granting class certification if it determines that the questions of fact or law that are common to the proposed class members prevail over any issues that only affect individual members and that a class action is a better vehicle than other methods to efficiently and fairly litigate the underlying issues. The parties pursuing a class action bear the burden of proof, which means that they must establish that it is appropriate.
Plaintiffs pursuing class actions in New York state courts must satisfy similar requirements. Specifically, they must demonstrate typicality, adequacy, numerosity, and superiority. State courts can consider other factors as well, like the interest of class members in controlling the defense or prosecution of separate actions as individuals, whether it is inefficient or impractical to defend or prosecute separate actions, and whether other litigation dealing with the same controversy exists. The court may also consider the difficulties that are likely to arise in the management of a class action and whether the proposed court is the appropriate venue to handle the matter.Meet With a Dedicated New York Attorney
An employer’s refusal to pay workers the wages that they rightfully earned usually affects multiple employees. If you were denied adequate pay, you should meet with a lawyer to determine whether you may be able to pursue a wage and hour class action against your employer. At Gerstman Schwartz, our wage and hour lawyers represent people in New York City and in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can contact us by calling our New York City office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170, or accessing our form online to schedule a consultation.