In an ongoing labor case against deal-czar Groupon, a Chicago Federal judge ruled on Aug 29 that former employee allegations were too disparate to warrant class action certification, allowing the company to avoid litigation for the time being. The class had been seeking retribution for the company’s failure to pay overtime both before and after its initial public offering in 2011.
Roughly 1500 prospective class members had pending claims against the online retailer, but the range of those claims was too great to warrant certification, said U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang. The judge recommended that the group reevaluate their claims against Groupon’s newer management policies and, where possible, form smaller classes. The plaintiffs will have until Sept. 23 to determine new classes or file suit individually.
In his opinion, Chang said, ““Variations in Account Reps’ actual job duties and their individualized damages claims prevent Plaintiffs from establishing commonality and predominance. The types of duties that each Account Rep performed, the amount of time each Account Rep spent on a certain duty, and also the amount of independence and discretion Account Reps could exercise has varied from employee to employee.”
Plantiff’s were suing for alleged injuries on the job, overtime pay owed and accusations that Groupon had violated Illinois’ minimum wage law with its policies. A separate class action suit against Groupon cites violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
In his decision, Chang cited the Supreme Court’s 2011 Walmart decision. That case has made it more difficult for groups of workers to file suit, putting more pressure on plaintiff’s to demonstrate commonality amongst a group or prospective class members.
As reported by Reuters, Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts said the company is pleased with the decision.