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 Class and Collective Actions

Employment class and collective actions are brought by an individual or group of individuals seeking to represent a larger group of individuals.  Generally, the members of the class or collective action all share common issues of fact or law that allow the lawsuit to be brought collectively rather than requiring each individual to file a lawsuit. 


Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs how most employment-related class actions proceed, however, claims alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") use the special provision for group remedies under Section 16(b) of the FLSA.


The substantive basis of both class and collective actions can be the same basis of an individual discrimination or FLSA lawsuit.  So, for example, a group of employees may bring a class action lawsuit alleging that an employer's neutral policy had an adverse impact on a certain sex, race, age, or other protected group.  An example of an FLSA collective action is where a group of employees allege that they have all been subjected to the same unlawful policy or procedure of working off the clock or not being properly paid for overtime. 

To support a class or an ADEA collective action, a Charge of Discrimination filed with the EEOC must typically contain a classwide allegation.  

The most critical step in any class or collective proceeding is the certification proceeding, where the court will determine whether the group of employees will be allowed to proceed as a class.  This step will set the entire stage for the litigation. 

If you are bringing a class or collective action against an employer, or defending against one, it is important to retain counsel that has extensive employment law experience.  If you are in need of an attorney to bring or defend against a class or collective action, please contact us for a free attorney consultation.  

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