Class-action litigation is often high stakes, and employment-related class actions are no exception. Generally, employment-related class actions fall into one of three categories: (1) wage and hour claims (Federal Labor Standards Act or state-law counterparts); (2) employee benefit litigation (Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases); and (3) employment-discrimination allegations (involving Title VII or state-law anti-discrimination statutes). While not as prolific as wage-and-hour class claims, employment-discrimination class actions can be much more high profile and may present more serious financial risks to the company being sued. This point was recently driven home in May 2010 when a federal jury in New York awarded $250 million in punitive damages to female employees in a gender-discrimination class-action lawsuit.
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