In many cases, an individual employee’s claim for wages owed by their employer will be valid. The employee is thus legally entitled to lost wages, penalties, and legal fees. However, the claim may be too small to interest an attorney or justify legal action. Still, the aggrieved employee deserves to recover damages.
If you find yourself in this situation, consider the possibility you are not alone. Your employer may make a practice of violating employment laws, and many of your colleagues are likely experiencing similar issues. If this is the case, it may be advantageous to explore a class-action lawsuit. Our team at The Spivak Law Firm is committed to helping Californian employees exercise their rights and hold employers accountable for habitual misconduct.
Our Los Angeles class action lawyers have over 25 years of experience and do not get paid until you do. We will fervently advocate for you throughout each stage of the class action process and leverage the full extent of our resources to fight for a successful outcome.
A class action is only practical if a large number of employees have been similarly wronged by your employer. For example, a class action may be a great way to efficiently recover damages if you discover that your entire department of several dozen employees has been unfairly denied overtime pay over the last year. A class action is not practical if a handful of employees have different grievances.
You may be wondering how you will determine whether your colleagues are also being unfairly treated. You have the legal right to discuss wages, workplace conditions, terms of employment, and other protected types of speech with your fellow employees. Most pertinently, your employer cannot lawfully fire or retaliate against you for discussing possible unlawful conduct. If they do take adverse action against you, you will likely have a retaliation or wrongful termination claim in addition to your initial grievance.
To pursue a class action, one or more employees must be willing to serve as the “class representatives.” The class representatives file the class-action lawsuit on behalf of all employees who were similarly harmed by the employer. They will also be expected to represent the interests of the other employees and devote considerable time to the lawsuit. Our Los Angeles class action attorneys are prepared to help class representatives build a strong case and fulfill their legal responsibilities throughout the process.
Once a lawsuit has been filed, the “class” will need to be certified. The court will evaluate the number of employees involved, the nature of the allegations, and whether a traditional lawsuit (or collection of lawsuits) is more practical. The judge will also assess whether the class representatives can capably and impartially fulfill their duties to the other employees.
If the judge certifies the class, the class representatives must next formally notify all potentially affected employees. Each potential class member must be provided with a summary of the allegations, an opportunity to withdraw from the class, and an advisement that their participation may lead to a binding settlement.
If you receive notice of a California class action, you have the right to “opt out,” meaning you will not get any share of a settlement but retain the right to pursue your own lawsuit. If you do nothing, you will automatically become part of the class. You can also choose to “join” the class and become a more direct participant in negotiations.
When a class action results in a favorable verdict or settlement, the court will work with the class representatives and their lawyers to determine how the recovered damages will be divided. All class members will be entitled to a percentage. The class representatives will generally receive a higher portion as compensation for their contributions.
Through a successful class-action lawsuit, you and your colleagues can potentially obtain compensation for:
- Unpaid wages, including unpaid overtime
- Liquidated damages
- Statutory and civil penalties
- Legal fees
- Costs of suit
Our Los Angeles class action lawyers know how to effectively navigate these complex legal procedures and can provide comprehensive guidance every step of the way. When you come to The Spivak Law Firm for help, we will evaluate your situation and advise whether a class action is warranted. Even if a class action is not practical, we can still assist you with individual lawsuits and other legal remedies.