San Diego Class Action Lawyer
If you feel like your employer has violated your rights under state or federal labor laws, you may not be alone. Ferraro Vega is here to help you uphold your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation with a San Diego class action lawyer at (619) 693-7727.
Is the time you explore your legal options in Southern California. Employers who violate employment law often have a history of violations and a large number of employees may be affected. When this is true, a labor class action by all affected employees can be a powerful means of ending illegal practices.
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How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with a Class Action
Sadly, employment law violations are common and rarely just affect one employee. Issues like employee misclassification and unpaid wages often affect a large number of employees. Holding your employer accountable for their actions and recovering compensation isn’t always easy, however.
An employment attorney in San Diego can be invaluable in helping you protect your rights and building a class action to fight back against unfair employment practices. Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers focuses exclusively on employment litigation and helps workers in all industries. Our employment lawyers spent years working with the largest law firms in the U.S. and put this expertise to work for you on a contingency-fee basis.
Choose Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers and trust us to:
- Provide sound legal guidance and support
- Investigate your case and determine if it qualifies for a class action
- Document illegal and unfair practices and actions your employer has committed
- Help you follow the necessary steps to have a class action certified and proceed in your lawsuit
- Protect your legal rights at every stage of your case
You do not need to fight back against your employer alone. There is strength in numbers through a class action and Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers can help. Contact our law office to schedule a free consultation with a San Diego employment class action lawyer to discuss your case.
What Are the Most Common Labor Law Violations in California?
Class action wage and hour lawsuits are used when a large number of employees share similar grievances against an employer.
A California employer may face a labor class action when they violate labor laws with regard to many employees.
The following are common ways in which an employer may violate labor law:
- Employee misclassification such as misclassifying employees as exempt or independent contractors
- Illegal wage deductions not allowed by law or authorized by the employee under Labor Code Section 224
- Not allowing meal and rest breaks
- Unpaid wages
- Overtime violations
- Unpaid commissions
- Whistleblower protection violations under Labor Code Section 1102.5 and other statutes
- Wrongful termination
- Workplace harassment including sexual harassment or a hostile work environment
- Workplace discrimination under federal or state law. This includes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and broader anti-discrimination protection under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
- Violations of equal pay laws
- Not allowing FMLA leave
- Refusing reasonable accommodations for a disability or religious beliefs
- Health and safety code violations
While these are the most common types of employment law violations, class action lawsuits can be brought against employers for any type of widespread violation of federal or state law affecting employees.
Requirements for a Class Action in California
A labor class action is a type of lawsuit brought by a small number of affected employees on behalf of a larger group of employees. In this lawsuit, plaintiffs attempt to establish that the employer’s illegal actions against the small group are typical of behavior experienced by the larger group.
If you are part of a group of employees who have been subjected to illegal or unfair labor practices by your employer, you may be eligible to file this type of claim. However, there are many hurdles to overcome to bring a class action.
Before you can file a class action against your employer, you must receive class certification. This requires showing the proposed class is measurable and significant to the court.
You must also show:
- There is a well-defined community of interest
- There is a sufficient and definable class of affected employees, and
- The benefits from a class action are preferable to individual claims.
“Community of interest” has several factors. This means the class representatives can sufficiently represent the entire class and have claims typical of the class with common questions of fact or law. Essentially, a class action may be an appropriate avenue if:
- There are a large number of employees affected by wage and hour violations by the same employer
- The violations are similar for all employers
- The circumstances surrounding the violations were similar for everyone, and
- Some employees who have a situation similar to the other employees will serve as representatives.
After a class action is certified, potential members are notified and have the right to opt out to protect their right to bring an individual claim without receiving any possible settlement funds.
Be aware that many employers in California require employees to sign an arbitration agreement that precludes or limits participation in a class action. While California has tried to limit and prohibit these class action waivers, federal courts have upheld that federal law preempts these attempts and allows the waivers.
Beginning in 2020, California employers may no longer mandate that an applicant or employee relinquish their right to sue as a condition of receiving benefits, getting hired, or keeping employment under AB 51. If arbitration is declined, the employer cannot retaliate. This law does not affect existing arbitration agreements.
What Are the Benefits of a Class Action in San Diego?
If you believe you have been cheated or treated unfairly by your employer, you are probably not alone.
Pursuing a labor class action lawsuit rather than an individual lawsuit can come with several important advantages.
Reduce Possible Retaliation Issues
California and federal law protect you against retaliation when you complain or assist with a claim involving illegal employment practices. However, retaliation can still be a concern. The last thing you may want to worry about when dealing with an hour and wage dispute, for example, is a hostile work environment or wrongful termination.
While you can likely bring a claim for retaliation and eventually recover damages, that does not help you in the short-term.
A class action lawsuit reduces the risk of retaliatory behavior because only the class representative’s name is on the lawsuit. All other employees can be presumed to be part of the class action.
The class representative who begins a class action lawsuit may be eligible for a service award in a successful class action. This is in addition to the damages available in the case.
Stop Illegal Practices
A class action lawsuit is more likely to put an end to illegal employer practices once and for all. Employees may seek an injunction against their employer that declares their behavior is illegal and must stop. This can create a fair, safe workplace for all employees.
Class Actions Are Worthwhile for Even for Small Claims
Sometimes the individual damages each employee suffers is fairly small. It may add up to only a few hundred dollars in unpaid wages or breaks that were not provided. Sometimes it isn’t worth the time and cost to bring these small claims. However, a class action lawsuit allows affected employees to combine their claims into a much larger action to reduce expenses.
There Are Drawbacks to a Class Action
Despite the very clear benefits, labor class actions have drawbacks. When you become part of a group suing your employer, you give up control of the case. A chosen representative and their attorney decide when to settle and how to proceed. Of course, choosing to become a representative and start a class action can change this.
In some cases, the award from a class action does not fully compensate all class members. If you suffered very serious or large damages as a result of your employer’s illegal practices, you may be better off with an individual case. Otherwise, the settlement or jury award is divided among all members and you may not be fully compensated for your damages.
The San Diego labor class action attorneys at Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers can help you decide if an employment class action is in your best interest.
FAQs About California Class Action Lawsuit
“When the question is one of a common or general interest, of many person\s, or when the parties are numerous, and it is impracticable to bring them all before the court, one or more may sue or defend for the benefit of all.” See California Code of Civil Procedure § 382
Our Firm files class actions under the California Labor Code and Business & Professions Act (Unfair Competition Law), as well as collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. We represent employees in employment class action lawsuits, sometimes called wage and hour class actions, as well as civil enforcement actions on behalf of the State of California under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA). If you have any questions, please contact us or call (619) 492-8300.
Typically, you do not need to take any action to join a class-action lawsuit. A single person, called the class representative, files the action on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated. In the employment context, this means current and former employees of the defendant employer. The class definition will define the scope of the employees covered by the case.
Most class members are only ever involved in a case when it settles. In some cases, like under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you may be required to “opt in” to affirmatively consent and participate in the lawsuit. This is typically only the case for cases filed under federal wage and hour law (as opposed to the California Labor Code) and information on how to do so will be explained in a class and collective action notice mailed to you.
When a case settles, you In most cases, a person called the class representative files the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated.
There are a number of different reasons why you may have received a notice with Ferraro Employment Law’s contact information on it:
Belaire-West Privacy Notice: You received this notice because you are a potential class member or aggrieved employee in a case we have filed against your current or former employer. We asked that the Company provide the contact information for the group of affected employees, including you, and this notice was mailed to inform you and other employees of your privacy rights. These notices are typically sent by a third-party class action administrator. You may contact us if you have any questions. Please read the notice carefully!
Class Notice: If you received a Class Notice in the mail with our Firm’s information, this means that your rights may be affected in a case that was recently filed or settled. Notices often include information about the legal claims and factual allegations, how to participate, the estimated settlement payment, and information about upcoming hearings. Importantly, these are court-approved notices and provide instructions about how to participate or exclude yourself from the case or settlement and how to object.
Direct Correspondence: These are letters sent directly from our Firm regarding facts or information about a pending case concerning your current or former employment or legal rights.
Please call (619) 492-8300 for more information.
It does not cost anything to join. In most class actions, the lawyers handling the case only receive a fee and reimbursement of costs if they obtain a settlement or verdict for the group of represented employees. Any legal fees are deducted from the settlement or court award, and subject to two rounds of judicial oversight and approval.
There are many differences. PAGA actions seek to recover civil penalties for violations of the California Labor Code, whereas class actions seek to recover a combination of wages and penalties. PAGA actions are limited to a one-year statute of limitations, whereas in class actions you can often recover four years of unpaid wages. Finally, PAGA actions are filed by an individual person as a proxy for the State of California. PAGA is inherently an enforcement mechanism deputizing employees to enforce California’s labor laws and recover civil penalties for the State and for the aggrieved employees. Civil penalties recovered are split among the State of California and the aggrieved employees, with 75% going to the State and 25% to the employees. In a class action, the wages and penalties recovered are distributed to the employees.
Read more about What is a PAGA Claim and How Do I File One?
Every case is different, but employment class action lawsuits typically take at least 12 months to more 36 months. The length of the case ultimately depends on the court, the company, the amount of evidence, and the facts and legal issues in each case.
You need to work with experienced wage and hour lawyers to evaluate your situation and prepare your case. If you have been the victim of a current or former employer’s systemic employment law violations or if you worked for a defendant in one of our active or settled cases, contact us or call (619) 492-8300.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Diego Class Action Law Firm
Have you been treated unfairly by your employer and believe other employees have also been affected? Whether you have suffered illegal wage and hour practices, a hostile work environment, or discrimination, Ferraro Law Firm is here to help.
We represent clients in all industries in San Diego County with years of experience in California labor law. Contact a San Diego labor class actions lawyer today to discuss your case and explore legal options.
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