Wage & Hour Litigation

Multi-plaintiff wage and hour lawsuits pose the greatest employment litigation threat to American businesses today.

Federal court filings of wage and hour class and collective actions have increased more than 300% since 2000, far outpacing all other types of employment class actions. Wage and hour settlements and verdicts have reached into the millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars.

Seyfarth Shaw’s defense of employers in wage and hour litigation has become one of the hallmarks of the firm’s nationally recognized Labor & Employment Department. Our Wage & Hour Litigation Practice Group consists of more than 85 attorneys in our 10 offices across the U.S., who collectively, have represented employers in the defense of more than 400 class and collective actions in the past two years alone. We optimize the results we achieve for our clients by constantly reviewing recent legal developments, investigating how to counter new tactics forged by plaintiffs’ counsel, and developing appropriate defense strategies. We represent non-union and unionized employers in virtually every industry, including retail, hospitality, healthcare, financial services, pharmaceutical and medical device, communications, media, transportation, professional services, manufacturing, home building and energy.

Attorneys in our Wage & Hour Litigation Practice Group have broad legal and practical knowledge enhanced through years of advising employers about wage and hour compliance issues. We have defended our clients against all forms of multi-plaintiff wage and hour lawsuits, ranging from small regional classes and opt-in groups of less than 100, to large nationwide classes numbering in the tens of thousands and more, and in nearly every federal jurisdiction and state court system, as well as before the U.S. Department of Labor and analogous agencies. These cases include claims alleging:

  • Misclassification of employees as exempt
  • Misclassification of workers as independent contractors
  • Failure to pay otherwise exempt employees on a salary basis
  • Regular rate and minimum wage issues
  • Failure to pay for pre- and post-shift activities, including donning and doffing and other "off-the-clock" activities
  • Miscalculation of commissions and bonuses
  • Failure to pay overtime to drivers based on the SAFETEA-LU amendments to The Motor Carrier Act exemption and the Department of Transportation Act
  • Tip and "service charge" claims
  • Unpaid on-duty meal periods
  • Improperly denied reimbursements
  • Other state law pay practices claims

Seyfarth’s collaborative and team-based approach to each case melds a comprehensive, substantive knowledge of wage and hour laws, regulations and agency rulings with the formidable bench strength of our extensive complex litigation experience. We shape our defense strategy to the particular needs of each case and the business goals of our clients. This approach allows us to be extremely effective at defeating or minimizing exposure from such potentially high-risk cases and developing appropriate "exit" strategies that combine our litigation, mediation, and audit capabilities. It is our unmatched combination of wage and hour litigation expertise and thought leadership in this field that led our selection to author Wage and Hour Class and Collective Actions (Law Journal Press, a division of ALM Media, Inc.), 2012, the only treatise that deals comprehensively with this topic. 

In California, a state whose complex Labor Code poses unique risks for employers, Seyfarth Shaw’s employment lawyers boast a proven track record of effective representation against wage and hour class actions. For example, we achieved the first defense verdict in a major wage and hour class action jury trial. In another case, we persuaded the California Supreme Court to adopt the employer’s position that the employer had broad latitude in how it chose to reimburse employee business expenses. Having defended in excess of 300 California wage and hour class actions, we have become the "go-to" wage and hour defense lawyers in the state.