In California employment lawsuits, what “group” actions are available?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Class actionsand representative actions recently have been lethal plaintiffs’ counsels’ weapons in California, especially in wage and hour actions.

The “class action” is an interesting creature found in both state and federal law that gives short shrift to the classic legal idea that everyone should have his or her own “day in court.” Rather than make each individual alleged victim prove their own case, a “representative” plaintiff can prove their own case on behalf of themselves and many others at the same time.

In employment lawsuits this means an employer can be held liable to an entire “class” of employees, perhaps 10’s, 100’s or 1000’s, in a single lawsuit. This of course is over simplifying the matter, but you get the point

Under federal law, class actions are available in employment and labor lawsuits in every state. In sunny California, its citizens can take advantage of California class actions which resemble federal class actions. However, California employee attorneys have the additional weapon of an “unfair competition” representative action (“UCL” actions).

Recently enacted California law for all intents and purposes closes the gap between “class actions” and UCL actions. UCL employee must now follow class action “certification” procedures.

Statute of limitations: One key difference in UCL actions is the statute of limitations period. The “statute of limitations” period is legal jargon for how back the employer must pay money on the claim to the employee. For UCL actions the statute of limitations is four years. Most statute of limitations in employment claims are one to three years. The UCL statute of limitations as a practical matter increases the statute of limitations in the appropriate circumstance to four years.

Common class actions:Other common class actions in the employment and labor arena include: discrimination class actions (all women are denied a benefit provided to men), wage and hour class actions (a class of “exempt” employees is misclassified, overtime is incorrectly calculated, or rest and meal periods.


Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption