Experienced Los Angeles Class Action Attorneys
Class actions begin as lawsuits brought by one or a small group of employees who have been legally wronged in the same or a very similar way. Class actions can be beneficial because they make it possible to efficiently fix injustices to large classes of workers, especially where the cost of bringing an individual smaller lawsuit for just one person would outweigh the benefit.
Typical Examples of Class Actions:
- Employees who were erroneously misclassified because they receive a salary, but are in-fact entitled to overtime, meal breaks, and rest breaks.
- Employees who were erroneously misclassified as independent contractors, when in-fact they were employees, entitled to minimum wage, overtime, meal breaks, and rest breaks.
- Employees who do not receive all wages owed to them, including minimum wage, overtime, double-time.
- Employees who do not receive all their meal and rest breaks.
- When employers do not provide accurate pay stubs with all required information.
- Employees who work off-the-clock.
- Workers of the same employer who must spend their own money on their company’s business
expenses without reimbursement, such as automobile expenses, uniforms, and tools.
- Workers at the same facility who must perform job-required activities while off-the-clock for
which they should be paid
It takes only one worker to volunteer to act as “lead plaintiff” or “representative plaintiff” initiating the litigation on behalf of the class of hundreds or thousands of similar workers or employees. In each class action, the court will at some point decide whether to “certify” the class. Often, courts award enhanced damages to “lead” or “representative” plaintiffs as compensation for the standing up for the legal rights of entire class.
Under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Lab. Code sec. 2698, et seq.), California allows “representative actions,” which are similar to class actions, against law breaking companies who mistreat their personnel by violating certain Labor Code provisions. Before a PAGA representative action can start, a particular notice must be given to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and the company.
Benefits Of A Class Action Lawsuit
There are several benefits of pursuing a class action lawsuit as opposed to an individual action:
- Contingency Fee Representation — Employees can find contingency fee class action lawyers that have the resources and experience necessary to go up against a big company more easily than if it were an individual lawsuit because it is more economically viable for the law firm.
- Lower Retaliation Problems — Employees don’t have to fear retaliation for being a part of a class action suit because the only name on the lawsuit is that of the class representative and employees are presumed to be part of the class action unless they affirmatively choose to not participate in the class action in which case the employee “opts out” of the case.
- Preserve Court Resources — Class actions preserve the resources of the courts. Instead of hundreds of individual cases being filed and flooding the courts, a class action suit allows the court to solve the problem one time. This also promotes consistency because if hundreds of individual lawsuits were filed some employees would lose and some would win on the same legal issue.
- Incentive & Service Awards — In a class action settlement, the class representative (the person who starts the class action lawsuit) may be eligible for a service award in addition to the damages.
- Putting a Stop to Illegal Conduct — Class action suits can be beneficial because employees can seek an injunction against the company which declares that what the company is doing is illegal and the company cannot continue to violate the law. This is beneficial because an injunction in class action litigation can create a fair workplace.