Based on the sixth annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report by Seyfarth Shaw LLP – a leading law firm handling complex employment litigation – employers should be aware of several key trends that occurred in federal and state courts last year:
• Class action filings seeking recovery for unpaid wages and 401(k) losses increased. More age discrimination and Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) lawsuits were filed, too, due to workers being displaced in layoffs.
• Wage and hour litigation outpaced all other types of employment-related cases, especially in CA, FL, IL, NJ, NY, MA, MN, PA and WA.
• The Obama Administration’s renewed focus on regulation and enforcement, mostly through the DOL and EEOC, continues to increase exposure for employers.
• Massive settlements were seen in several nationwide class actions, as plaintiffs’ lawyers pushed for greater damages. The top 10 employment discrimination settlements in 2009 totaled $86.2 million, while the top 10 wage and hour settlements reached $363.6 million.
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