Class actions allow a group of people facing a similar legal problem to band together against a common defendant. Class actions can be brought under many types of law such as product liability, mortgage and lending laws or employment law.
Unfortunately, people often find that if a company or employer has harmed them, it probably also harmed others. A class action allows all of those people to work together to recover damages from that company. If your employer has not paid you and your coworkers the wages you earned, you might consider using a class action to help you recover those lost wages.
Forming a class of plaintiffs
A court must approve your group as a class in order for you to bring a lawsuit together. This process is called certification. The judge will ask a few questions in order to certify your class, including:
- Are there enough employees to consider you a class? California law does not set an exact number, but rather looks at whether it makes sense to treat the plaintiffs as a group rather than having you each bring your own claim.
- Does everyone claim to have the same damages? In other words, are you all complaining of lost wages? If a few of you have a different complaint, such as wrongful termination, those few would not belong in the class.
- Do you all share the same circumstances? The judge will look to see if you all have things in common, such as working for the same employer and being hourly workers.
If the judge can answer yes to these questions, he or she will certify the class and allow you to move forward. If not, you can still pursue a claim for lost wages on your own.
Why chose a class action?
As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers. Class action lawsuits are complex and can take a little longer, but they can help many people who have suffered the same way you have. By yourself, you may decide that the cost to bring a lawsuit isn’t worth the bother for your case alone. Sharing the cost, work and opportunity across many people simply makes more sense. It also betters your odds of winning. Class action attorneys are often more experienced than other attorneys.
No matter which way you choose to pursue recovery for your lost wages, the important thing is to do what is right for you. You deserve to receive the pay you earned.