What are the differences between a class-action lawsuit and a regular lawsuit?
A class-action lawsuit is filed by a large group of employees, known as a class. One or more people act as representatives for the group, which can include hundreds or thousands of people. In an individual action, a single plaintiff brings a lawsuit against their employer.
In a class action, the representatives bring the lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who have all experienced similar harm, such as wage theft or gender discrimination. Class actions allow employees to band together and go up against large companies, which are often equipped with teams of lawyers. In some cases, current employees may not feel comfortable taking action against their employer in court. They may want to find a single representative willing to take action; this can even be someone who no longer works for the company, provided they suffered recent harm.
If the class-action lawsuit is successful or a settlement is reached before trial, the damages will be divided among the class members. No settlements or awards are final unless approved by all class members. In a regular lawsuit, all the damages are awarded to a single plaintiff. Typically, the class representative is granted an extra monetary reward to compensate for their time and effort in representing the entire class.
Class actions can be effective in stopping an employer’s unlawful practices, as the claims of multiple workers can help build a strong case. They can also save time and resources. In individual lawsuits, each plaintiff would have to fight their case in court on their own.
Besides these basic differences between an individual lawsuit and a class action, there are many other factors to consider when pursuing a claim against your employer. An experienced employment lawyer can help you decide the best form of legal action in your situation. Contact McCormack Law Firm to learn more.