Firm News

Wage And Hour Settlement Values Skyrocket: Seyfarth Releases 13th Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report
Impact of Political Change-Over and Six Key Trends in Workplace Class Action Litigation for 2017

01/11/2017

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has released its 13th annual edition of the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, which is recognized as the nation’s most complete guide to workplace-related complex litigation. In this year’s Report, Seyfarth analyzed 1,331 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis to capture key themes from 2016 and emerging litigation trends facing U.S. companies in 2017.

Described as the “definitive source of information on employment class action litigation” and a resource that “no practitioner who deals with employment claims. . . should be without” by EPLiC Magazine, Seyfarth’s Report is the sole compendium in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to workplace class action litigation. In its largest edition to date, the 881-page Report is the “go to” research and resource guide for businesses and their corporate counsel facing complex litigation in the coming year.

“The U.S. Supreme Court decided several cases in 2016 that favored workers bringing class actions, which in turn portend significant challenges for employers facing these exposures in 2017,” said Seyfarth’s Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., co-chair of its Class Action Defense Group and author of the Report. “While settlements were down for employment discrimination and ERISA class actions and government enforcement litigation, settlement numbers were up for wage & hour class actions and collective actions.”

“With the change-over from a Democratic White House to a Republican one and the second most filings of wage & hour litigation over the past decade, 2017 is sure to present twists and turns for employers in dealing with these types of litigation issues.”

An overview of workplace class action litigation developments in 2016 reveals six key trends outlined in the Seyfarth Report for 2017:

  1. Class action dynamics increasingly have been shaped and influenced by recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the past several years, the Supreme Court has accepted more cases for review – and issued more rulings – than ever before that have impacted the prosecution and defense of class actions and government enforcement litigation. Plaintiffs’ lawyers scored several significant victories in 2016 that will make class actions easier to prosecute and result in more certification orders.
  2. The monetary value of the top employment-related class action settlements declined significantly in 2016 after they reached all-time highs in 2014 and 2015. However, wage & hour settlements increased significantly.
  3. Federal and state courts issued more favorable class certification rulings for the plaintiffs’ bar in 2016 than in past years.  However, employers did better in decertification motions than in past years.
  4. Overall complex employment-related litigation filings were flat in 2016 after several years of increased filings. For the first time in over a decade, wage & hour filings declined.
  5. Wage & hour certification decisions in 2016 increased geometrically as compared to last year. This manifests the focus of the plaintiffs’ bar in wage & hour compliance issues.
  6. Government enforcement lawsuits brought by the DOL and EEOC continued the aggressive litigation programs of both agencies, but by sheer numbers of cases, their enforcement activities were arguably limited in their effectiveness, at least when measured by lawsuit filings and recoveries compared to previous years.

Again available as a downloadable eBook, the Seyfarth Report is fully searchable, compatible with all major devices, allows readers to bookmark useful sections for easy future reference, and includes a number of other features, such as note-taking, highlighting and more.

To order the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, please click here.

About Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Seyfarth Shaw has more than 850 attorneys and provides a broad range of legal services in the areas of labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation, corporate and real estate. With offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney and Washington, D.C., Seyfarth’s clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies and reflect virtually every industry and segment of the economy. A recognized leader in delivering value and innovation for legal services, Seyfarth’s acclaimed SeyfarthLean® client service model has earned numerous accolades from a variety of highly respected third parties, including industry associations, consulting firms and media. For more information, please visit www.seyfarth.com

Contacts:

Brian Kiefer, Director of Public Relations
(312) 460-6401, bkiefer@seyfarth.com

Martin Grego, Public Relations Manager
(312) 460-6659, mgrego@seyfarth.com