Under federal and state law, any non-exempt employee who works over 40 hours a week must be paid overtime. Overtime pay must be one and a half times the employee’s normal pay rate. When an employer fails to pay a significant group of employees the overtime they deserve, they may have a right to pursue a class action for unpaid overtime.
If you work in New York and believe your employer or past employer owes you unpaid overtime, contact the attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP as soon as possible. With the help of our experienced attorney, you may be able to recover back pay from your employer. When there are multiple employees like you who’ve been denied overtime, you may be able to pursue a class action lawsuit.
Pursuing a Class Action Lawsuit for Failure to Pay Overtime in New York City
Class action lawsuits are a way to force change on an employer who continues to engage in illegal, abusive, or discriminatory practices. A common misconception about class actions is that you need multiple people to file a class action. A class action may, in fact, be filed with just one person who files the lawsuit on behalf of a group of people.
Unpaid overtime class action lawsuits are filed by a group of employees who have all experienced similar wage and hour law violations from their employer. Class action lawsuits involving employment claims can involve millions of dollars in damages, allowing all victims to obtain justice and compensation while deterring future unpaid overtime violations by the employer and others.
In a class action lawsuit, an entire group of plaintiffs with nearly identical claims against a single employer pursue damage. Many New York City employers who refuse to pay overtime to one employee are also refusing to pay overtime to other employees, potentially giving the court grounds to certify a class action case.
The Requirements of Pursuing a Class Action Lawsuit for Unpaid Overtime
New York has specific requirements for pursuing a class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs must meet these requirements for the court to certify the class action lawsuit. Courts allow class action lawsuits when a similar claim impacts an entire group of individuals to avoid individuals filing nearly identical claims against the same defendant. The number of individuals with grounds to file lawsuits must be so great that it would be impractical for the court to hear so many similar cases.
No specific number of people is required to file an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit. However, courts generally won’t certify class action lawsuits with fewer than 40 participants. That is, 40 people in the class – not 40 people filing the lawsuit.New York courts sometimes approve smaller class actions, but they typically involve hundreds or thousands of employees.
Additionally, the disputed issue must impact the entire group of individuals similarly. For example, suppose an employer routinely refuses to pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours or intentionally miscounts an employee’s work hours to avoid paying overtime. In that case, the plaintiffs could try their cases together in a class action.
To succeed in a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs must prove that their employer violated the unpaid overtime law. Successful employees can recover payment for lost wages and compensatory damages. When the employer acted willfully in unpaying overtime wages, plaintiffs can recover additional liquidated damages.
Our Attorneys Will Clearly Explain Your Legal Rights and Options
Many employment law violations, including unpaid overtime, can be pursued as a class action lawsuit. When you schedule a free case evaluation with Lipsky Lowe LLP, we can discuss the possibility of pursuing a class action claim for unpaid overtime.
When individual employees have damages from unpaid overtime that are too small to justify pursuing an individual lawsuit, pursuing a class action lawsuit can help every employee recover the damages they deserve. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of handling employment-related class action lawsuits. We will help you understand your options, from pursuing a claim under New York city, state, or federal law to pursuing a class action lawsuit so you can make an informed decision.
The Stages of a Class Action Case in NYC
After the class action case has been filed, the defendant will be served, and the plaintiffs will wait for a response. The employer will have the opportunity to file an answer, and they may file a motion petitioning the court to dismiss the lawsuit. If the case proceeds, both sides enter the discovery phase.
The plaintiff’s attorney can ask the court to certify the case as a class action lawsuit. The employer will have the opportunity to file opposing briefs challenging the certification of a class action lawsuit. The judge will weigh all the evidence and decide whether to grant or deny certification. If the court grants a class action lawsuit, the case will continue on its merits.
How Is Compensation in a Class Action Lawsuit Divided?
Many class action lawsuits end in a settlement agreement before the case proceeds to trial. The settlement agreement may seem quite large; the money will be divided among all of the plaintiffs in the class action in an equitable manner (eg., so that employees who worked for 3 years get 3x as employees who worked there for 1 year). Many employment-based class action lawsuits enter into a common fund class action settlement.
In this type of settlement, the funds from the settlement are entered into a common fund divided by the class members based on a formula determined by the parties. The settlement agreement usually provides a provision regarding the attorneys’ fees and costs. The defendants typically pay their attorneys separately, and the attorneys for the plaintiff are paid from the settlement fund.
Contact an Overtime Pay Class Action Attorney in NYC
You may have a right to compensation if you’ve been wrongfully denied overtime pay in New York City. When employers violate New York employment laws and fail to pay many of their employees the overtime they deserve, the employees may be able to bring a class action lawsuit against their employer.
You may fear retaliation for speaking up about your unpaid overtime wages. It’s illegal for an employer to retaliate against you due to your wage and hour violations complaint. The skilled employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are here to help. We know how to hold employers in New York City accountable. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to discuss your case and learn how we can fight for you and your rights.