Many lawyers who handle employment litigation believe that class actions involving alleged wage-an-hour violations should not be affected by the ruling in the Wal-Mart case. In order to survive problems in claims based on wage-and-hour violations, the lawyers in those cases must be able to distinguish their cases from the Wal-Mart case. It’s much easier to establish commonality in these cases than it was in the Wal-Mart case.
It should also be noted that in cases involving state labor law, classes of proposed Plaintiffs are much narrower than the large one in the Wal-Mart case. For example, in the SimplexGrinnell case, the judge upheld class certification for about 600 workers who alleged that the Tyco fire and safety equipment unit violated New York labor law.
Cases brought under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are also proceeding in the courts. Class certification for these cases do not have to satisfy the same strict requirements as in discrimination cases, such as the Wal-Mart lawsuit, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Both the Starbucks and the HCR ManorCare lawsuits faced the less stringent certification standard. HCR lawyers asked District Court Judge Jack Zouhary in Ohio federal court, to consider the impact of the Wal-Mart ruling to their wage-and-hour case. But Judge Zouhary wrote in a July 1st order: “This Court concludes the concerns expressed in Dukes simply do not exist here.”
According to lawyers representing the employer-side, some judges are misinterpreting the Wal-Mart ruling, keeping alive class-actions that do not merit certification. It will be most interesting to see which side prevails in this most important area of law.
Source: Insurance Journal
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