Employment/Wage & Hour Class Actions

Overview

Our success springs from early case investigation and assessment. We create a unique solution for each matter to achieve the client’s goals.

The number of employment class actions, representative actions, and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions has exploded over the past decade and shows no sign of abating. While a handful of recent Supreme Court cases have made modest inroads for employers, many lower courts remain supportive of employment class action litigants and may view the process as necessary to constrain employer conduct. At the same time, the plaintiffs’ bar is continuing to develop counterstrategies designed to increase employer costs and to provide itself with settlement leverage.

While employment class action proponents and plaintiffs’ attorneys promote the view that any workplace dispute is subject to class or collective treatment, we believe that every class action and every class action defendant is unique. We work early to determine our client’s goals and strategies in the litigation. We believe in early case assessment. We work out creative strategies unique to each case. And we believe that effective use of information and technology systems can be used to streamline defense costs and enhance the employer’s defense.

We have handled class, representative, and collective actions relating to virtually any workplace issue. We routinely litigate wage-and-hour cases under federal law and the parallel laws of states that include California, New York and many others (which are often employee-friendly). These claims include everything from misclassification, off-the-clock time and regular rate issues, to less-well-known exemptions and claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), a statute that adds potential penalties and has encouraged a plethora of employee lawsuits. We have written extensively on a range of employment class action issues, and have assisted employers in drafting arbitration agreements to deter class litigation. Through our blog, employmentclassactionreport.com, we also comment regularly on employment class action trends affecting employers.

Select Experience

Our recent employment/wage and hour class action litigation successes include the following:

  • We obtained a reversal of a years-old class action claim involving entitlement to retiree health insurance coverage before the United States Supreme Court.
  • We obtained a dismissal of putative nationwide wage-and-hour claims on personal jurisdiction grounds.
  • We have designed and defended arbitration programs with class action waivers for many employers.
  • We successfully tried a wage and hour class and PAGA action in California alleging unpaid wages, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, and related claims and penalties. The thirteen named plaintiffs, and the hundreds of employees they sought to represent, recovered only 5 percent of the relief they sought as the Court dismissed almost all claims.
  • We have successfully used both time studies and statistical analyses either to avoid class certification or to reduce class and claim sizes in settlement.

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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Cleveland
Partner Orlando
Partner Houston
Partner Houston
Partner Cleveland
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Chicago
Partner Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Partner Orlando
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Atlanta
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Cleveland
Partner Denver
Associate Denver
Partner Chicago
Partner Cleveland
Counsel Los Angeles
Counsel Orlando
Associate Atlanta
Associate Cleveland
Associate Houston
Associate New York
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Houston
Associate Orlando
Partner Los Angeles
Associate Los Angeles
Partner San Francisco
Associate Los Angeles
Associate Houston
Associate Cleveland

Experience

Our recent employment/wage and hour class action litigation successes include the following:

  • We obtained a reversal of a years-old class action claim involving entitlement to retiree health insurance coverage before the United States Supreme Court.
  • We obtained a dismissal of putative nationwide wage-and-hour claims on personal jurisdiction grounds.
  • We have designed and defended arbitration programs with class action waivers for many employers.
  • We successfully tried a wage and hour class and PAGA action in California alleging unpaid wages, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, and related claims and penalties. The thirteen named plaintiffs, and the hundreds of employees they sought to represent, recovered only 5 percent of the relief they sought as the Court dismissed almost all claims.
  • We have successfully used both time studies and statistical analyses either to avoid class certification or to reduce class and claim sizes in settlement.
  • We believe in early case evaluation to streamline case management, reduce cost, and identify candidates for potential early settlements.
  • We have defended claims arising out of the application of Section 7(i) of the FLSA for retail commissioned salespeople, including in arbitration.
  • We have successfully handled numerous class actions for alleged state and federal wage-and-hour violations regarding piecework arrangements.
  • We have advised and defended employers in controversies regarding bonus programs and their effect on calculation of the regular rate for overtime purposes.
  • We have defended countless employers on a wide range of wage-and-hour disputes arising out of alleged “off-the-clock,” “donning and doffing” and “boot up and boot down” time.
  • We successfully moved to decertify a collective class of more than 1,000 work-at-home employees.
  • We have handled numerous cases involving the application to “auto-deduct” policies across a wide variety of industries.
  • We successfully opposed certification of a class of truck terminal supervisors claiming that they were misclassified as exempt for overtime purposes.
  • We tried and won a class action case involving alleged entitlement to retiree health insurance benefits following a plant closing, and defended the defense judgment on appeal.
  • We successfully represented a construction company and its subcontractors in a unique FLSA and prevailing wage case in a Miami federal court. The matter received national press attention due to our strategy to move to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction because the defendant paid in excess of the federal minimum wage.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA
    • Labor & Employment – Nationwide (2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ California (2017 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Florida (2007 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Ohio (2007 to 2021)
    • Labor & Employment ‒ Texas (2014 to 2021)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Labor and employment – Immigration (2017 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense (2015 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Labor-management relations (2015 to 2021)
    • Labor and employment – Workplace and employment counseling (2021)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"
    • Employment Law – Management: National (2011 to 2022); Atlanta (2019 to 2022); Cincinnati (2016 to 2022); Cleveland (2011 to 2022); Columbus (2011 to 2022); Houston (2011 to 2022); Orlando (2011 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2014 to 2022)
    • Labor Law – Management: National (2012 to 2022); Cincinnati (2020 to 2022); Cleveland (2011 to 2022); Columbus (2011 to 2022); Los Angeles (2017 to 2022); New York (2022); Orlando (2011 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2017 to 2022)
    • Litigation – Labor & Employment: National (2012 to 2022); Atlanta (2019 to 2022); Cincinnati (2020 to 2022); Cleveland (2012 to 2022); Columbus (2015 to 2022); Houston (2014 to 2022); Los Angeles (2021 and 2022); New York (2019 to 2021); Orlando (2012 to 2022); Washington, D.C. (2015 to 2022)
  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, BakerHostetler was named to the 2020 BTI Client Service 30 for the sixth consecutive year.

Blog Posts

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Class Action Blog
The Fifth Circuit Now Considers Who Are ‘Parties' in an FAA Action to Compel Arbitration
By John B. Lewis
November 19, 2021
By John B. Lewis In two prior blogs, we have focused on a dispute over federal court jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under Section 9 and Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The dispute resulted in a...
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Employment Class Action Blog
The Supreme Court Argument Only Underscored the Complexities of Federal Court Jurisdiction Over Arbitration Awards
By John B. Lewis
November 9, 2021
By John B. Lewis One might expect that the plain text of a statutory provision would be in line with the overall goal of the law. But when that statute is the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), it’s not necessarily the case. And many people...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Third Circuit Rejects District Court's Trial-Before-Certification Plan
By Gregory V. Mersol
October 20, 2021
Years ago, employers argued unsuccessfully that plaintiffs should not be able to pursue so-called hybrid claims pursuing both Rule 23 opt-out classes and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) opt-in collective claims at the same time. They noted...
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Employment Class Action Blog
The Fifth Circuit Again Considers the ‘Forby' Case and When the Right To Arbitrate Is Waived Based on an Amended Complaint
By John B. Lewis
October 8, 2021
By John B. Lewis As we have said in the past, determining when a party waives its right to arbitrate is never easy and the nuanced standards vary among the circuits. Now a case that has come to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth...
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Employment Class Action Blog
Divided Ninth Circuit Reinstates Part of California's Anti-Arbitration Law
By Gregory V. Mersol
September 22, 2021
For many years, state and federal courts in California have opposed arbitration and have manufactured frameworks under which they become unenforceable despite the clear directives of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and countless Supreme...
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