Can class action lawsuits be used to combat gender and wage discrimination?
Class action lawsuits work by pairing one or many individuals who sustained damages in similar situations and all others who have been injured by the acts of a defendant. Generally, the key determining factor in a class action lawsuit is that a common element to a claim exists which overshadows the differences among class members.
A good example of a filing occurred recently, when according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the U.S. Department of Labor said it began investigating the Oakland Raiders’ treatment of its Raiderettes, after one of its cheerleaders accused the team of failing to pay minimum wages and illegally hitting squad members with fines and travel expenses in a lawsuit.
Jose Carnevali, representative for the Labor Department’s regional office in San Francisco, told the Chronicle that an investigation concerned “the team’s cheerleader squad,” and not merely a person who filed the suit last week.
“Because this is currently an open case, the department cannot provide further information about the case at this moment,” Carnevali told the Chronicle.
A cheerleader filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court as a proposed class action on behalf of the 40 Raiderettes and other members of the squad over the past four years. The Raiders have not responded publicly to the lawsuit.
According to the Chronicle, “[the] Labor Department has the authority to assess penalties against employers for violating the federal government’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage law and other labor laws. It can order an employer to pay its workers twice the amount of wages that were illegally withheld.”
The lawsuit comes after the San Francisco Giants paid $544,000 in back wages to 74 employees after an investigation found wage violations over a three-year period.
Is Your Employer Withholding Wages?
As we stated last week in a blog post, in California employers are prohibited from docking your wages below minimum wage. Laws exist to ensure that employees are given fair and just compensation for the work they perform.
Wage and overtime claims can be difficult to prove, so it is important to have an experienced employment dispute attorney by your side if you feel like your employer is not properly paying you. If you believe you are not getting the pay you deserve, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys