Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s 10th annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report reveals new challenges ahead for employers facing workplace class action litigation. The survey conducted by international law firm Seyfarth is the “sole compendium” in the country dedicated exclusively to workplace class action lawsuits.
The 803-page report is available via ebook and serves as the “go-to” research and resource guide for business and their corporate counsel facing litigation.
This year, Seyfarth produced its largest report ever, analyzing 1,123 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis to capture “key themes” from last year and emerging litigation trends emerging for the coming year.
One of the biggest developments from 2013 report was Wal-Mart Stores, Inc v Dukes, which continues to have a wide-ranging impact all class actions lawsuits pending in both federal and state courts. In Dukes, according to bloomberglaw.com, the Supreme Court reversed an en banc ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that gave the green light to a sprawling nationwide class action that encompassed 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees.
The report also focuses on the sharp importance of Rule 23, which outlines the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which details judges, attorneys, plaintiffs and defendants for conducting a class action lawsuit. The report also looks at:
- The increasing of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission focus on high-stakes, big-impact litigation
- An overall decrease in the number of discrimination cases being settled before trial
- A continuing rising tide of Wage & Hour cases
- Fallout from the Supreme Court's first Class Action Fairness Act ruling in Standard Fire Insurance Co v. Knowles
- Additions to the increasing number of rulings allowing employers to use arbitration agreements to manage class action risks
- Rapid strategic changes due to rulings like Comcast Corporation v. Behrends
"In the past two years, we have seen a combination of Supreme Court decisions help create a defensive barrier for employers in class action cases," said Seyfarth's Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., co-chair of its Class Action Defense group and author of the Report. "Enough time has passed, however, that plaintiff lawyers have begun to breach this barrier with new theories and approaches and, combined with increasing and aggressive government enforcement litigation, employers may once again find themselves facing bet-the-company-type class actions in 2014."
Divided into detailed chapters on leading class action settlements, federal law rulings, and state law rulings, the substantive areas examined by the Report include: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; EEOC pattern or practice cases; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; state law rulings in employment law, wage and hour, and breach of contract cases; key CAFA rulings, and other class action rulings with significance to Rule 23 and/or workplace litigation.