What types of employment claims can be brought as a class action lawsuit?
There are numerous types of employment class action lawsuits, including:
- Failure to pay overtime wages (over 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, or the first 8 hours of the 7th consecutive day worked in a workweek).
- Failure to pay double-time wages (over 12 hours per day, or over 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day worked in a workweek).
- Misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
- Misclassification of hourly (eligible for overtime) employees as exempt (not eligible for overtime).
- Misclassification of inside salespersons as exempt.
- Failure to properly factor sales commissions into overtime pay.
- Misclassification of tech support or certain other IT professionals as exempt.
- Forcing employees to work off-the-clock, such as requiring them to show up early, or be on-call without pay.
- Systematically shorting employees’ wages.
- Failure to provide 10 minute rest breaks every four hours worked.
- Failure to provide uninterrupted meal breaks every five hours worked.
- Requiring employees to sign waivers of their meal breaks.
- Failure to pay necessary business expenses such as auto mileage.
- Any other violation of California or federal wage laws.
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, age, race, national origin, religion, family status, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, or medical leave, against a large group of employees.
However, not all employment cases can be brought as a class action. A class must first be certified by the court before a class action lawsuit can be filed. A court will certify a class of plaintiffs if they can meet certain criteria, including:
- All the employees in the class must have suffered the exact same type of harm;
- There must be a large number of employees affected, usually a few dozen at least; and
- The class representatives must represent the interests of all other employees—meaning they will be willing to spend time on the case; can speak to what the employer did that was wrong; do not have serious conflicts with other class members; or felony fraud convictions.
Class action lawsuits are often very high-stakes, and employers take them very seriously. As a result, these cases can be exceptionally complex and should be handled by an experienced California employment attorney.