Employment and Labor Class Actions
Employees have seen a major surge in legal recognition of their rights to fair pay, reasonable work hours, and a workplace free of discrimination and harassment in recent years, but we have far to go before bad practices by employers are truly a thing of the past. Federal and state laws give employees who suffer from unlawful employment practices the right to recover damages, including monetary damages and injunctive relief. When an employer’s unlawful practices affect a substantially large group of employees, they may join together and assert their claims as a class action. The Chicago employment lawyers at Nationwide Consumer Rights offer a wide range of experience in helping employees recover damages for violations of employment and labor laws.Employment and Labor Claims
Several federal laws protect the rights of employees to fair wages, reasonable time off for medical and family needs, and a safe work environment:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs minimum wage and overtime pay for nonexempt employees. Employers must pay employees for time spent at work, and they must pay time-and-a-half if employees must work beyond the typical forty-hour work week.
- Employers may not misclassify employees as exempt workers, such as a manager or executive, in order to avoid paying overtime. An employee who, despite having a “manager” or “executive” title, has job duties that would ordinarily make them a nonexempt employee, must receive overtime pay.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees a reasonable amount of time off from work for employees due to their own medical needs or those of a family member. The time off guaranteed by the FMLA may not be paid time, but the employer cannot refuse an employee time off, and cannot fire or demote them for claiming time off.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as various state and city civil rights laws, prohibit discrimination or harassment based on gender, race, religion, national origin, and other categories. Some state and city laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. These laws prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee based on any of these categories in hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions, job duties, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. They also prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for reporting discrimination or otherwise asserting their rights.
In many cases, an individual employee’s claim for overtime pay or other damages may be too small to make a lawsuit worthwhile. Class action litigation benefits large groups of employees who have suffered similar mistreatment at the hands of an employer, allowing them to bring a single claim that joins all of their grievances. An employee seeking to certify a lawsuit as a class action must show that a class of fellow employees have substantially similar legal claims.
The Chicago employment attorneys at Nationwide Consumer Rights have decades of experience protecting the rights of employees who have suffered from violations of wage and hour laws, employment discrimination, and other infringements of their legal rights. We have dedicated our practice to protecting the rights of employees and consumers around the country. Contact us today online or at 630-333-0000 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an employment lawyer in the Chicago area.