Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
The raw emotions of a polarized electorate are taking a toll on employee relations. How can HR promote peace?
Is your employee handbook ready for the New Year? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Get the HR education you need without travel expenses or time out of the office.
Elevate Your Talent Strategy. Join us in Chicago, IL – April 24-26, 2017.
The monetary value of employment-related class-action settlements reached an all-time high in 2015. The top 10 settlements in employment-related categories totaled $2.48 billion in 2015, compared with $1.87 billion in 2014, Seyfarth Shaw said in a report released Jan. 12.
In its 12th annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, the law firm said federal and state courts also issued more favorable class certification rulings for plaintiffs in employment-related cases in 2015 than in previous years.
Other Key Trends
Other key trends for employment class-action litigation included the following:
These trends should continue in 2016, according to the report.
Employers also can expect continuing growth in wage and hour litigation under state and local laws brought on by challenges to independent contractor status and the gig economy, as well as the renewed focus on joint employer issues, the law firm predicted.
The DOL’s new overtime pay regulations, expected to be finalized in 2016, and new state and local minimum wage laws also could generate more class litigation, the report said.
More litigation over class-action waivers in arbitration agreements is probable as well, according to the report.
FLSA complaints filed in federal courts totaled 8,954 cases, rising for the sixth straight year. Federal courts in 2015 granted employment plaintiffs class certification in 123 cases, while denying their class-action motions in 23 cases, the report said.
The DOL and the EEOC obtained a total of $82.8 million in settlements during 2015, rebounding from an eight-year low of $39.45 million obtained during 2014, according to Seyfarth Shaw.
Try to Limit Vulnerabilities
“The one constant in workplace class action litigation is change,” the report noted. There were many changes in 2015, and more should be expected in 2016, the law firm said.
“These novel challenges demand a shift in thinking in the way businesses formulate their strategies,” the report said. It recommended that companies focus on “identifying, addressing and remediating class action vulnerabilities.”
Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies