Perhaps the greatest employment litigation threat to businesses today is the wage and hour class action. Over the past ten years, federal and state court filings of wage and hour collective/class actions have surpassed employment discrimination class actions and have dwarfed single-plaintiff discrimination suits and virtually every other employment-related action. Moreover, settlements in these cases regularly exceed seven figures.
We have litigated complex wage and hour cases in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and on a multijurisdictional basis. These cases include federal, state law, and hybrid class actions for:
- Overtime and minimum wage
- Employee misclassification—exempt vs. non-exempt
- Employee misclassification—employee vs. independent contractors
- Salary vs. hourly basis
- "Off-the-clock" work and travel time
- Continuous workday
- Fluctuating workweek
- Donning and doffing activities
- Rest breaks/periods
- Commissions and bonus payments
- Tip pooling
- Joint employer claims
- Technology impact on work time and other wage and hour issues
Industries in which we have expertise include construction, financial services, investigation, health care, higher education, hospitality (hotels, bars, and restaurants), insurance, mortgage, manufacturing, professional services, public sector, retail, telecommunications (including call centers), and transportation.
When litigation begins, the cumulative experience of our Class Action team helps us achieve exceptional case management effectiveness. We have developed specific collective, class, hybrid action, and multijurisdictional strategies that allow clients to successfully navigate the difficult procedural issues that arise in wage and hour litigation. The members of our team have achieved reputations with both federal and state court judges in wage and hour class action litigation. These reputations assist our attorneys in effective maneuvering of class certification motions, electronic discovery issues, and case management.
From our extensive experience in wage and hour litigation, class action, and Department of Labor (DOL) audits, the Class Action team has unique perspective on the plaintiffs’ litigation strategies, the litigation tendencies of the state and federal judges, and the DOL’s agents. The team is also committed to creative cost-containment measures in defending this type of litigation, which can be very costly.
Wage & Hour Compliance—DOL Audits & Beyond
Now more than ever, employers need to be ever-vigilant when it comes to wage and hour compliance. The federal DOL has ramped up enforcement, and employers are quickly finding that Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) class action lawsuits are much more costly than traditional single-plaintiff discrimination suits.
Over the past several years, the federal DOL’s Wage and Hour Division added new investigators to its field offices to refocus the agency on enforcement responsibilities and to ensure that contractors on stimulus projects are in compliance with the applicable laws. An increase in investigators can mean only one thing for employers: More DOL wage and hour audits.
The DOL has used multipronged outreach, media, and enforcement efforts designed to inform workers of their rights and help them assert such rights when violations are revealed.
Employers—both large and small—should consider whether they are ready for a DOL audit.
We can help.