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 labor class actions 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.
How Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help with a Labor 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.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a San Diego Labor Class Actions 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