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What Are the Requirements for a Class Action Lawsuit?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Employment class action lawsuits – those in which a group of employees sues their common employer – are one of the most common types of class action lawsuits.

Types of Employment Class Action Lawsuits

Many employment class action lawsuits involve claims of employment discrimination or wage/hour violations. Employment discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, national origin or disability is unlawful and employees can seek compensation if they suffer as a result of discrimination.  Some common types of employment discrimination include: wrongful termination, reduction in pay or benefits, failure to hire or interview, wrongful demotion or transfer, and unfairly denying job promotion. In order for the plaintiff class to succeed in their class action lawsuit, they must prove that there was a bias on the part the employer and that discrimination was a motivating factor in the employment action.

Wage and hour class action lawsuits involve allegations that the employer violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which, among other things, requires that non-exempt employees be paid an hourly wage of at least time and a half for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week or eight (8) per day.

Requirements for Employment Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit in which a large number of plaintiffs bring similar claims against the same defendant. A class action lawsuit begins when one or more named plaintiffs files a claim against the defendant(s) on behalf of a proposed class, all of whom have suffered a common injury or damages.

Once the complaint is filed, the named plaintiff(s) must obtain class certification.  Generally, in order for the proposed class to be certified it must meet the following requirements:

  1. The class is so large that individual suits are impractical. While there is generally no specific number of potential class members that is required to seek class certification, the court will generally require the named plaintiff show that the number of potential plaintiffs is so large that pursuing individual claims would be impossible.
  2. Common legal claims, common defenses, and/or common factual claims exist. It is not enough that the class member plaintiffs all have claims against the same plaintiff; they must all possess similar claims against the same defendant. Oftentimes the plaintiff(s) must also show that common issues, rather than individual fact-specific conflicts, will dominate the litigation such that a class action is a better method for resolving the dispute.
  3. The named plaintiff will adequately protect the interests of the class. The named plaintiff must share the same claims as the class members and have suffered the same harm as the other class members so that he or she can adequately represent the interests of the class.

If you have an employment claim against your employer and think that other employees have a similar claim, you may want to consider filing an employment class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits often benefit plaintiffs because they are more cost-effective and efficient. Class action lawsuits may also save plaintiffs upfront legal costs associated with litigation because law firms frequently represent plaintiffs on a contingency basis, with plaintiffs paying their lawyers a percentage of the recovery upon conclusion of the case.

Class action lawsuits involve complicated legal and procedural issues, however. It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced class action attorney if you are considering filing an employment class action lawsuit. The Chicago class action attorneys at Ankin Law Office, LLC are highly skilled litigators experienced in handling class action suits and fighting for the rights of workers.

Contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to learn more about how we can help you pursue your employment class action lawsuit.