A wage & hour dispute occurs when employees have had their wages withheld, or when there is a dispute over the calculation of hours that they have worked. It may also involve disputes over eligibility for certain work hours or benefits, such as overtime pay. In some cases, large groups of employees may be affected by a single work policy, or by the decision of a single supervisor.
In such cases, the group of employees may decide to file the claim as a class action lawsuit, if they have all been affected in a similar manner. This can help to make the process go faster and more efficiently.
Taking this a step further, some class action claims may be diverted from litigation into the mediation process. This is where a third party mediator intervenes between the class of employees and the employer in order to help them reach a settlement or other type of legal remedy. This can provide certain advantages for both the class of plaintiffs and the defendant employer.
What Are Some Advantages of Wage & Hour Class Action Mediation?
Mediation can be useful, even in a large-scale legal claim like a class action wage/hour dispute. For instance, mediation:
- Still addresses the defendant’s need to deter or prevent future claims
- Provides employees with quicker relief for their claims
- Allows both sides to avoid long and costly lawsuits
- Can provide more accurate relief for plaintiffs, since they can negotiate terms according to their needs
On the other hand, mediation might not be able to address certain individual requests. These may need to be processed in a separate legal proceeding. Also, mediation may not be practical in all cases, especially where the sides are unable to come to a mutual agreement on the dispute.
What If Mediation Is Not Successful?
In the event that mediation is not successful, the parties may need to continue with litigation. This can involve more investigations regarding the decisions and policies of the employer and their management staff. In some cases, this can result in a monetary damages award for the class of plaintiffs. For instance, if the court finds that the company withheld wages without a legal basis, they may be required to reimburse the group of employees according to their qualifying rates.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Wage and Hour Disputes?
Wage/hour claims can often involve major legal issues that affect large groups of employees. You may wish to hire an employment lawyer if you need legal representation for a wage and hour claim. Your attorney can provide you with advice and representation during the process. If you need to be involved in mediation, your lawyer can be present to assist with negotiations and other matters. If the case will be going to court, your attorney can continue to assist you with legal research and advice on the case.