In many instances, an employer that fails to abide by the law with regard to employee wages will not only shortchange one employee but will engage in a practice of underpaying staff members. Thus, in many cases, aggrieved employees may be able to file a class-action lawsuit against the employer, seeking damages for wage and hour violations. Simply because an employer failed to pay appropriate wages to more than one employee does not mean a basis exists to pursue a class action case, though. Rather, as discussed in a recent New York case, the plaintiff must prove certain elements before a court will grant class certification. If you were not paid the wages you are owed from your employer, you should speak to an assertive New York wage and hour violation attorney to determine whether you and other employees may be owed compensation.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the named plaintiffs were employed as food runners and as a sommelier with the defendant restaurant. They frequently worked in excess of forty hours per week and worked a spread of ten or more hours, for which they were not paid a spread of hours premium, and were required to perform non-tipped side work despite the fact that a tip credit was taken from their wages. The plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against the defendant, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The plaintiffs then filed a motion to certify the class.
Certification of a Class in a Wage and Hour Violation Case
The court explained that class certification in federal cases is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Specifically, FRCP 25(a) requires that the party seeking certification demonstrate typicality, commonality, numerosity, and adequacy of representation. A plaintiff seeking class certification must also meet one of the requirements of FRCP 25(b) as well. In the subject case, the plaintiffs sought certification pursuant to FRCP 25(b)(3), which required them to show that question of fact or law common to all of the class members predominates over issues that affect individual members.