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Class/Collective Action

Overview Experience Press Room

Overview

Companies of all types continue to fall prey to employees seeking collective or class redress for a variety of alleged wrongdoings, among them discrimination, wage and hour, glass ceiling and other pay disparity matters. We help many of the world’s largest and most well-known employers proactively defend against these suits and expedite their resolution aggressively and efficiently, bringing to bear the resources of one of the most formidable and sophisticated employment litigation groups practicing today.

The members of our Class/Collective Action Group are well versed in both the defense and successful resolution of class actions and have experience in all phases of related litigation, including bench and jury trials. We have strength in wage and hour class actions and have successfully defended companies in class and collective actions filed by employees for alleged unpaid overtime pay, misclassifications, record-keeping obligations, unpaid meal breaks and personal sick pay as well as large lawsuits brought by state and federal labor departments and other government agencies. We also have deep experience representing employers in pattern and practice investigations and litigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) relating to alleged discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age.

However, the courtroom is not the only place where we successfully defend against class and collective actions. Our lawyers are also highly adept at developing creative strategies for defeating class certification on a procedural level, whether by directly addressing the specific claims of named plaintiffs or confronting the class head on. We are also experienced in mediating settlements and at evaluating – and minimizing – damage exposure.

Our history of success has led US Legal 500 to commend us for our strength in defending class actions and Chambers USA to praise our “litigation expertise in both discrimination and sexual harassment cases.” Chambers USA further distinguished our Labor & Employment practice by selecting us as the winner of its prestigious 2012 “Award for Excellence.”

We were also recently honored as one of the top three firms nationwide for Labor & Employment Litigation by The American Lawyer, where it was noted that clients retain Proskauer when "the company's reputation is on the line" and "managing the public face of litigation" is of utmost importance. Indeed, our high-profile matters involve sensitive, complex situations with sweeping ramifications that impact both our clients and their industries.

Areas of Focus

  • Discrimination, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • EEOC Investigations and Litigation
  • Wage and Hour Claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and State Laws, including:
    • Unpaid Wages
    • Overtime
    • Meal and Rest Breaks
    • Donning and Doffing

Key Representations

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb in defeating a wage and hour case involving more than 2,400 putative class members, successfully opposing a motion to send notice to the entire group and to conditionally certify the class. The decision was the first in more than 20 years to address the administrative exemption relating to overtime for pharmaceutical sales representatives and has become one of the most frequently cited wage and hour cases in the U.S.
  • Hudson News Group in defeating and settling numerous wage and hour suits brought by employees across the U.S.
  • Sprint Nextel in the dismissal of a putative class action brought by a former employee who sought to certify a class of all California-based sales consultants over a four-year period for reimbursement of expenses he alleged the company failed to pay
  • Willis Group Holdings, Ltd. in a class action originally filed by five officer-level female employees of a nationwide insurance brokerage company alleging class-wide sex discrimination in compensation and promotion policies and practices, seeking to certify a nationwide class of over 500 women. We were successful in defeating plaintiffs’ attempt to proceed with a nationwide class and eventually succeeded in having the other claims dismissed, withdrawn and settled on favorable terms.