Firm News

Seyfarth Shaw Charts Explosive Growth in Wage & Hour Lawsuits, Volume of Cases Hits Record High in 2012


Brian Kiefer
, Director of Public Relations
(312) 460-6401,

Ivette Delgado, Senior Public Relations Associate
(212) 218-5273,

CHICAGO (July 20, 2012) - Leading law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP released today a chart demonstrating a record number of federal wage and hour lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 2012. This data confirms the continuation of the explosive growth in these suits that has marked the past decade, debunking speculation that the number of wage and hour suits would taper off.

Confirmed by the Federal Judicial Center, 7,064 FLSA cases were filed in 2012, and these cases have risen sharply during the past decade (see chart). According to Richard Alfred, chair of Seyfarth’s Wage & Hour Litigation practice, the claims forming the bulk of these numbers include: misclassification of employees, alleged uncompensated "work" performed off the clock and miscalculation of overtime pay for non-exempt workers.

"The release of the 2012 data reinforces the fact that these FLSA claims are still gaining momentum, and that they continue to be a major, growing threat to U.S. employers," said Alfred.

Alfred attributes four major factors responsible for the marked increase in federal wage an hour suits:

  • Weakness of the economy, resulting in layoffs
  • Outdated FLSA and state laws which do not address changes in technology in the 21st century workplace
  • Lack of clarity in existing law, making it difficult to classify who is and is not exempt from overtime pay
  • Potential for lucrative recovery by plaintiffs and their attorneys

Alfred’s practice is focused on employment litigation, with a particular emphasis on wage and hour collective and class actions, complex litigation, high-stakes discrimination and wrongful termination cases, and non-competition matters. He has also testified on the FLSA before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Seyfarth Shaw has over 800 attorneys located in 10 offices throughout the United States, including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as well as internationally in London. Seyfarth Shaw provides a broad range of legal services in the areas of labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation, corporate and real estate. The firm’s clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies, and our practice reflects virtually every industry and segment of the economy. For more information, please visit