Ten New Class Action Certifications Nationwide for Federal Minimum Wage
Forester Haynie has recently certified ten additional class actions for pizza delivery drivers nationwide. These lawsuits allege the named pizza franchises used a flawed method to determine reimbursement for drivers’ mileage under the Fair Labor Standards Act, causing their wages to fall below the federal minimum wage.
With much of Forester Haynie’s work involving class actions, the importance, impact, and implications of class action lawsuits remain at the forefront of our firm’s goals. As a result, we are intimately aware of both the benefits and the challenges of class actions, and with the recent developments pertaining to class action lawsuits, it is perhaps more important than ever that our clients- and the community- have a better understanding of the process.
What is a class action?
A class action allows one or more plaintiffs to bring a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, or class, all of whom have suffered the same or similar wrongs at the hands of the same defendant.
What are the benefits of class actions?
One benefit of class actions is a matter of efficiency. When hundreds of plaintiffs are alleging the same harm against the same defendant, it would be overburdensome to expect the courts to resolve these matters individually. To that same end, plaintiffs hoping to show a pattern or practice of illegal conduct are benefited when they can join together.
Additionally, plaintiffs who have relatively minor injuries and may not have a case on their own may join with others to increase the value of their claims. Collectively, the costs of litigation increases, and so too do the damages plaintiffs may recover. Notably, these higher litigations costs are consolidated and less burdensome on each individual plaintiff.
While there are many more benefits, the efficiency and potential to recover more damages are arguably the most appealing to plaintiffs. Also, these lawsuits are uniquely able to encourage defendants to modify their behavior to prevent future class actions.
What are the challenges of pursuing class actions?
Despite the plethora of benefits class actions afford plaintiffs, class actions are difficult suits to bring, especially with the prevalence of arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements are contracts where both parties agree any dispute will be resolved outside of court. Many employers require their employees to sign these agreements, and once the agreement to arbitrate is signed, it becomes much harder- if not, impossible- to bring a lawsuit, much less a class action.
Just this May, the Supreme Court held employers may require employees to settle collective disputes in individual arbitration, barring them from joining together in a class action. Admittedly, arbitration is capable of resolving many disputes and is often more expedient and less expensive than formal litigation. However, these agreements ban employees from the court system for a vast array of claims and allow employers to continue harmful practices without the publicity or ramifications of class actions.
Ultimately, class actions are a powerful tool for plaintiffs wishing to effect change and recover for their injuries. While there are hoops class action attorneys must jump through, namely the Supreme Court’s decision permitting forced arbitration agreements in the workplace, competent attorneys familiar with the process are often able to recover more for their plaintiffs in a class than they could if representing them individually.
Forester Haynie is Here to Help
Forester Haynie is dedicated to representing drivers in class actions who have been improperly reimbursed by their employers. If you have ever been a delivery driver, then please contact Forester Haynie today: