It can be frustrating to deal with unfair treatment or other injustices in the workplace. In some cases, it may even be physically or emotionally dangerous when the workplace environment is hostile. One common illegal practice of California employers involves unfair pay. Unlawfully low wages, misclassification or unpaid overtime rates mean you and your co-workers are not receiving what the law says you deserve for the time you give to the job.
If you depend on the job to support your family or pay your bills, you may be wary of the consequences of complaining about your wages, even if they are less than the law demands. However, if your co-workers are in the same boat, your employer may be cheating you and the other employees out of potentially thousands of dollars of fair wages. You may consider joining your claims into one class action.
How can a class action help me?
A class action lawsuit combines similar claims against a single defendant. For example, rather than you and each of your co-workers filing separate lawsuits against your employer for unfair wages, all of you would combine your lawsuits into one large claim with the assistance of the same attorney with one complaint taking the lead. The lead plaintiff usually has a case that most clearly represents the complaints and goals of the others. Some of the benefits of a class action lawsuit include the following:
- The cost of taking your case to court will likely be lower.
- Because of the numerous plaintiffs joining against the employer, many class action cases end up settling instead of going to litigation.
- A class action includes everyone who may have suffered the injustices unless an employee opts out.
- Successful class action claims often allow plaintiffs to recoup some of their losses rather than losing most of their awards to court costs in individual cases.
- A large group of plaintiffs may even the odds, making the case less of a David and Goliath situation.
Of course, there are potential drawbacks to a class action. For example, whatever award a successful case returns is divided among the plaintiffs. Additionally, many plaintiffs may mean your case will take considerably longer to reach a resolution. However, your unique situation will determine whether it is appropriate to ask the court to certify your case as a class action to seek justice from an employer who is treating you and your co-workers unfairly.