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Employers might deprive employees of minimum wage for many reasons, and in many cases, numerous employees suffer wage losses at the same time. You should discuss the possibility of a class action claim with experienced California minimum wage lawyers

California sets out more robust minimum wage requirements than federal law, and many employers fail to fully comply with state wage laws. Noncompliance can be unintentional due to payroll errors, deliberate to try to save a company money, or for other reasons. No matter why minimum wage violations occur, they all result in back wages being owed to employees. 

The law allows employees to seek unpaid wages from their employers, and some claims involve a single employee after an isolated violation. However, some wage violations by employers can result in numerous employees being owed back wages. In this situation, it might be best for all the employees to file a class action lawsuit together. It is critical to have  California minimum wage lawyers evaluate the best option in your case. 

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action is a legal claim in which many employees who have the same complaints join together to file a single lawsuit against their employer. For example:

  1. An employer requires a number of employees to set up before a shift before they clock in and clean up their stations after they clock out.
  2. This off-the-clock work is not included on timesheets, depriving employees of minimum wage compensation for that time worked.
  3. All employees who worked off the clock have the same unpaid wages claim, and they might choose to file their lawsuit together as a class action.

In the above situation, if the employees each performed 15 minutes of unpaid work before their shifts and 15 minutes after, this might not seem like a big deal. However, if you are paid the current state minimum wage of $14 per hour (as of January 2021), this can add up to $35 per week of unpaid wages, which can mean $1,820 per year. 

When one employee files a wage claim, the employer might not take it seriously or be willing to settle out of court, which can lead to a costly trial in some cases. On the other hand, if 100 employees all missed out on $1,820 of wages in a year and file a claim together, the amount demanded suddenly becomes $182,000. This makes the stakes much higher, often incentivizing employers to agree to a favorable settlement for the employees. 

Requirements for a Class Action

In order to have a successful class action lawsuit in California, you must:

  1. Have a sufficient class of employees owed back wages
  2. The class of plaintiffs each has cases involving common legal or factual questions
  3. Reasons why a class action lawsuit is preferable to individual claims based on the circumstances
  4. Employees who are willing and able to represent the class

An experienced lawyer can review your situation and advise you whether a successful class action might be possible and beneficial. 

Contact Our California Minimum Wage Lawyers Today

At Mara Law Firm, we represent employees – and groups of employees – who were deprived of minimum wage under California law. Contact us online or call (619) 234-2833 to learn how our California minimum wage attorneys can help.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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