11 Jul What is an employee class action?
There can be situations where, in one workplace, many employees have all experienced unacceptable treatment at their job. It could arise from poor working conditions or workplace culture that has the potential to accelerate to cases like harassment, discrimination, human rights violations etc. If many employees at the workplace share a common issue, they can choose to file a class action lawsuit if they want justice for the behaviour they have had to bear.
What is it?
A class action is a lawsuit when multiple employees pursue a legal matter together under one case. Pursuing a case in this manner can be favourable because it can relieve a portion of the financial burden that employees would have to endure if they were to face the legal issue alone. It can also create one more manageable case rather than multiple cases.
Normally, there will be at least one employee, the representative plaintiff, who will volunteer to represent all the employees involved with this matter. The representative plaintiff becomes the central focal point for the group of employees. This means their name will be on the case and they will have more responsibilities than the other employees. The group of employees presenting the class action (in its entirety) will be characterized as class representatives during this process.
How can employees start a class action?
Any employee at any given time can file a class action lawsuit. For the case to qualify as a class action, the court will determine whether proceeding in a class action lawsuit is reasonable under the circumstances. There must be cause, a distinct class of people, a common issue among the class, a chosen representative plaintiff, and that the class action system is a reasonable method to resolve the case.
What can employees expect from pursuing a class action lawsuit?
There is no specific time frame when determining the verdict of a class action. Because class actions lawsuits are such large cases, it has the potential to prolong.
In terms of paying for legal representation during a potentially long trial, most class action lawsuits are paid on a contingency basis. This means that the employees will not have the burden of paying the lawyer up front, but after the win is secured. If the plaintiffs lose the case, they are responsible to pay for the costs of their opposition. However, there are cases where a third-party will get involved and pay the residual costs after a loss so that the employees are not burdened.
If the plaintiffs win the class action, they will often expect compensation for damages, either upon settlement or after the court verdict. If the case is settled, the legal counsel of the class members and opposing counsel will negotiate the damages. The lawyers will then present the settlement to the court, and the judge will determine if it is reasonable compensation. When proceeding through a court trial, it is solely the responsibility of the judge to reach a fair compensation.
If you are an employee who wants to file a class action claim or inquire about whether you can qualify for a class action lawsuit, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.