When you notice a serious issue at your place of employment, you may first think that you do not have the correct information. For example, if a paycheck is smaller than you expected, you may think that you simply miscalculated your hours or perhaps did not have the right dates for the pay period. However, you may still have a sneaking suspicion that something is not quite right.
After noticing issues on multiple paychecks and speaking with your co-workers and finding that they also have issues, you may wonder what to do. If you suspect that your employer has committed wage theft and that numerous people have been affected, cause may exist to file a class action lawsuit seeking compensation.
What is a class action lawsuit?
You may know that when one person has an employment-related issue, he or she may have reason to file a legal claim. However, when many people are involved in the same predicament, a single lawsuit may be filed to include everyone involved rather than having multiple smaller lawsuits for each person. Additionally, a judge will have to approve class action status before the case can proceed and include more members of the potential class.
What will the judge consider?
To determine whether class action status is appropriate for your case, a judge will consider several questions, such as these:
- Is class action lawsuit would be the best way to handle the claims?
- Do a common set of facts apply to all members if the class?
- Are the damages suffered by the initial plaintiffs are the same as those of potential class members?
- Are the number of people affected large enough to create a class?
If the judge certifies the class action suit, it may move forward. Without the certification, the judge will dismiss the case, but you could refile as an individual lawsuit. Certification would also result in a public notice that would give potential class members the opportunity to come forward.
Where you can you seek help?
Acting as a representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit for wage theft or unpaid overtime can seem daunting. However, you may feel that you have cause to move forward with such action so that you and others can obtain their rightful pay. You can also seek professional assistance from an attorney who can guide you through the process.