Class and collective action litigation over wage-hour violations is one of the greatest threats for employers today. In the last few years, the number of wage-hour class actions has skyrocketed, outpacing the frequency and severity of all other employment-related litigation. Even minor mistakes can expose a business, and its individual managers, to millions of dollars in damages.
Nixon Peabody’s Wage-Hour Litigation team is made up of experienced, savvy litigators who understand the unique issues that arise in wage-hour cases and have successfully resolved disputes ranging from single-plaintiff cases to complex class actions involving tens of thousands of class members with high damages exposure. We have decades of experience representing clients in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and on a multi-jurisdictional basis. These cases have involved a wide array of issues, including allegations of misclassification of exempt/nonexempt employees, “off-the-clock” work, miscalculated commissions, unpaid meal periods (arising from auto-deduction policies), regular rate calculations, and improper use of “comp time.”
Our wage-hour litigation strategy sets us apart. We have developed an effective, analytical framework to defend against these unique actions. Our methodology often includes conducting an early case assessment to evaluate the underlying merits of the case and potential procedural and substantive defenses, including well-developed strategies and tactics to defeat class certification. Our goal at all times is to determine the most cost-effective approach to defending the action in order to achieve either net settlement or trial advantage, while remaining attentive to the client’s overall business objectives.
Our Wage-Hour Defense practice covers all 50 states, but we have particular strength in areas that are seeing a surge in wage-hour actions, including California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. We have defeated motions for class certification (even at the conditional notice stage), won motions to dismiss or for summary judgment on the merits, and successfully negotiated creative class settlements (with high client-reverter amounts). We have extensive experience in many jurisdictions with particularly challenging state laws, such as New York’s six-year statute of limitations, California’s unique and often arcane provisions governing wages and class action lawsuits, and Massachusetts’ Wage Act, which requires mandatory trebling of damages. We have litigated frequently against the most active plaintiffs’ class action firms; we know their tactics, the way they think, and how they approach these cases. Our unique knowledge and experience often result in either limiting or defeating class certification, even in the most difficult cases.