While many people have heard of "class actions," fewer have heard of "collective actions." When employees' Fair Labor Standards Act rights have been violated, they have the ability to pursue their common claims against the employer in a "collective action."
Section 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employees to bring collective actions against an employer for unpaid overtime on behalf of other “similarly situated” employees. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Similar to class actions brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, Section 216(b) collective actions benefit the judicial system by allowing “efficient resolution in one proceeding of common issues of law and fact arising from the same alleged [unlawful] activity.” Hoffman-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 170 (1989).
While there are varying standards for proceeding with a collective action, one of the ways that a court will analyze whether to allow a group of employees to proceed as a collective action will be to assess whether:
(1) the employees seeking to be part of the collective action are similarly situated with respect to their job requirements and pay provisions; and
(2) whether other current/former employees wish to join the action.
If you believe that your employer has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and you believe the employer may have violated the rights of other employees in a similar manner, please contact a wage lawyer at Weiner & Sand LLC to discuss whether a collective action may be appropriate.