What is a Collective Action Lawsuit Under the FLSA? Learn the Basics of Collective Action Wage and Overtime Claims

Collective Action FLSA lawsuitsMany restaurants, retail stores and grocery chains are involved in wage and hour lawsuits across the country. If one employee files a wage and overtime claim, the lawsuit can be expanded to include other current and former employees who are "similarly situated." 

This article will explain:

  • What similarly situated means
  • Factors that determine collective action status

Similarly Situated
Usually, if one employee brings a lawsuit against a company, chances are that an entire group of employees have been affected by the same labor law violations. Current and former employees of a company who has allegedly violated the wage and overtime laws can be in a similar situation and can then file their claim to recover back wages and overtime wages owed to them under the federal labor laws.

Conditional Certification
When a group of employees brings a lawsuit against an employer, the case can be granted "collective action" status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This can then include hundreds or thousands of individuals in the suit.

Many factors will help courts determine whether to grant conditional certification. Some of these factors include:

  • Geographical scope
  • Job duties
  • Similar Practices or Policies
  • Whether multiple employers are involved.

Geographical scope
When there is evidence of similar alleged FLSA violations courts can certify a collective action covering broad geographic areas. We have represented clients in collective action lawsuits that span several different states.

Job duties
There is no requirement that all plaintiffs in a collective action lawsuit have the exact same job duties, but similar job duties can determine if all employees are similarly situated.

Similar Practices or Policies
Conditional certification for a collective wage and hour lawsuit is usually granted in cases where employees establish a common policy, practice or pattern of FLSA violations.

Whether multiple employers are involved.
If all other criteria are met for conditional certification, courts may allow a collective action against multiple employers.

Wage and Overtime Lawsuits
When workers stand up for their rights, employers often end up paying millions of dollars to resolve claims. Bank of America, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, UPS, Tyson Chicken, IMB and Target are just a few companies who have had to account for overtime and wage violations.  

In case you missed them, read our articles to get more information:

Wage and Overtime Basics
Part One: Overtime and Wage Violation Rates - No Industry is Immune

Part Two: The Basics of Overtime and Wage Claims under the FLSA

Part Three: Wage and Overtime Lawsuits - Your Options

Part Four: Basic Timeline of a Wage and Overtime Lawsuit

Our firm has represented employees in cities across Texas, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Lubbock, Laredo, Amarillo, Pasadena, Brownsville, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Abilene, Beaumont, Waco, Carrollton, McAllen, Midland, Richardson, Odessa, San Angelo, Killeen, Tyler, Denton, Longview, College Station, Baytown, Bryan, Sugar Land, Round Rock, Victoria, Port Arthur, Harlingen, and Galveston.