If your rights as an employee in Orange County are violated, chances are, you are not alone. Frequently, when employers fail to pay overtime, provide meal or rest breaks, or engage in misclassification or discrimination, the unlawful conduct affects many employees together. There is power in numbers, and under Orange County law, a single employee may have the right to seek compensation on behalf of an entire class of workers who have suffered similar harms. This type of lawsuit is the “class action.”
Class action lawsuits are very different from individual claims filed under the purview of employment law. While an individual claim for wrongful termination, harassment, or discrimination may potentially help an individual plaintiff recover their damages and provide a personal recovery for that plaintiff, class action lawsuits often compel defendants to commit to sweeping changes, overhauling their policies, and generally preventing similar issues from arising in the future and harming other employees.
The Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams, a company of Orange County class action lawsuit lawyers, can provide the detail-oriented legal counsel you need to approach a class action lawsuit with confidence. Our team understands the complexity these cases often entail and how to ensure every class member has their voice heard in legal proceedings. For example, suppose you believe you and your coworkers or other claimants have grounds to form a class action lawsuit. In that case, we can help you determine your best available legal options and provide the legal representation you need in this demanding situation.
The class action is a procedure under California and federal law that allows a single employee who has been wronged to represent a class of fellow employees who have suffered similar violations of law. The employee who is named in the lawsuit is called the “class representative” and the other employees who are represented in the lawsuit are called the “class.”
Class actions have several benefits over individual lawsuits. First, it often happens a single employee’s claims are too small to justify a lawsuit, but when many employees’ claims are combined together as a class, litigation becomes economically feasible. Second, class actions frequently result in employer-wide reforms so that current and future employees are not subject to the same harms.
There are some drawbacks to participating in a class action lawsuit, however. First, since many plaintiffs band together into a single plaintiff class, they will each receive an equal percentage of the final case award. This amount may be much smaller than an individual claimant could have secured if they filed their own separate claim, but the tradeoff is strength in numbers and a more streamlined litigation experience.
It’s important to note that employment law-related class actions are more likely to secure individual damages for each class member than in most other class action lawsuits. This is because there are likely records that prove the exact losses of each member of the class. However, this is not guaranteed, but the benefits of a class action lawsuit far exceed the drawbacks. Success with your class action lawsuit may not result in a windfall for you, but it can hold the defendant accountable for their actions and prevent others from experiencing similar treatment in the future.
Class actions are governed by California and federal rules that ensure that the class action procedure is right for the particular case. These rules look to several factors:
Numerous class members: There must be enough employees in the class to make the class action the most practical option.
Common issues: There must be factual and legal issues in common among the class members making it more efficient to deal with all of the claims together in a single case.
Typical claims: The class representative, also known as the “named” or “lead” plaintiff must have claims that are similar to the claims of the class members.
Whether class action treatment is appropriate is determined by the court in a process called “class certification.” Essentially, the lawyer will ask the court to determine that a class action is the most efficient and best way to deal with the case.
Many types of claims can become a class action. The most important thing to remember is that the violation must affect many employees in the same way. Here are some examples:
These are just a few examples. Any violation of law that affects a group of employees in the same or similar way may be appropriate for class action treatment. Your class action lawsuit attorney will help you and the other members of your class determine the full scope of the damages resulting from your employer’s activities. Unlike other class action lawsuits, class action lawsuits pertaining to employment-related matters are more likely to generate appropriate compensation for each member of the class. For example, if every member of the class has unpaid wages from their employer, the employer will be unlikely to have the option of settling for less than each member of the class is owed. Your attorney can help you determine the full scope of the damages you and the other members of your class can potentially recover if you succeed with your lawsuit.
When attorneys represent a large class of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, they typically do not collect legal fees the same way as many attorneys do when they represent single clients. The benefit of a class action lawsuit is that the plaintiffs with similar claims band together and avoid the individual stress and expense that would come with each of them filing individual claims. When a class action attorney accepts a case, they typically propose a contingency fee agreement. With a contingency fee, the attorney takes a predetermined percentage of the clients’ case award instead of billing each client individually.
If you believe you and your coworkers or others have grounds to band together in a class action lawsuit, it’s vital to choose the right attorney to handle the case. Again, experience should be your top consideration. Make sure you choose an attorney who not only has experience handling claims similar to yours but also class action lawsuits in particular. Class action lawsuits function very differently from individual claims, and your attorney must be able to meet these requirements.
Consult with the other members of your class to determine what type of attorney would be best for representing your class action lawsuit. Evaluate potential attorneys’ experience, credentials, past cast results, and reviews from previous clients. The Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams has extensive experience representing groups of plaintiffs in class action lawsuits. We understand the complex details these cases often entail and how to address each claimant’s individual needs through class action lawsuit proceedings.
The Orange County-based Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams represents employees in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage & hour, whistleblower and other employment matters. If you think you have a claim, contact us today at 949-679-9909 or use the contact form below and we will respond promptly