All California employees eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have the right to overtime pay. The problem is that employers do not always fulfill their financial obligations to their employees, whether negligently or intentionally. Although the FLSA prevents employers from firing an employee for filing a complaint concerning overtime and unpaid wages, employees are still afraid to pursue a lawsuit on their own.
However, if it happened to you, it could happen to many others in the same company that employs you all. You could file a wage and hour class action lawsuit together. A wage and hour class action lawsuit is when a significant number of employees sue their employer as a group because the employer has failed to compensate them for the hours they worked.
When to pursue a wage and hour class action lawsuit
Every nonexempt employee in California should receive one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour that exceeds eight working hours until 12 hours in a workday. When working hours go beyond 12 hours, the employer should pay the employee double the regular rate for all hours that pass the 12-hour workday limit. Employers can violate the California overtime rules in several ways. A class action lawsuit may be appropriate under the following circumstances:
- The employer misclassifies nonexempt employees as exempt.
- The employer improperly classifies employees as independent contractors.
- The employer fails to maintain an adequate record of overtime work.
- The employer pays employees less than the minimum wage.
- The employer discontinues health care coverage during employees’ legal leaves.
- The employer fails to provide employees with meal or rest breaks.
The members of the class action lawsuit should share similar grievances against the defendant, which in this case is their employer. While there is no set number of employees required to bring a class action lawsuit, it might be challenging to obtain a class certification if you have fewer than 20 members.
Why pursue a class action lawsuit for wage and hour violations?
Big companies respond quicker and more carefully when there are more people involved. A class action lawsuit can allow employees to fight for their rights together as a unified front. It can force the employer to reform their unfair policies and unlawful practices so that other employees will not suffer the same injustices.