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Workers filing wage-and-hour lawsuits under Labor Act at record pace


Federal wage-and-hour lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act reached a record high in 2013-2014, according to data analyzed by law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P.

Data shows that 8,126 federal wage-and-hour lawsuits were filed between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, the reporting year used by the Washington-based Federal Judicial Center, the education and research agency for the federal courts, whose data the law firm used in reaching its conclusion and in developing a chart reflecting this data.

This was nearly a 5% increase from the comparable period a year ago, when 7,764 cases were filed, said the law firm in a statement, adding that the number of cases has risen 438% since 2000.

“The wage-and-hour litigation epidemic continues, and we expect this trend to expand further in the coming year,” Boston-based Seyfarth Shaw partner Richard L. Alfred, who is chair of the firm’s wage-and-hour litigation practice, said in a statement. “While the rise we’ve seen in FLSA cases is astonishing, these numbers are also just one part of the equation. They would be even higher if wage-and-hour lawsuits filed in state courts under state pay practices, data which isn’t readily available, were added.”

Mr. Alfred said factors expected to fuel the continued rise of federal wage hour lawsuits during the next 12months include:

• Tightening of federal standards for class certification, which has driven plaintiffs attorneys to file many single and multiplaintiff lawsuits when class certification is denied or a class is decertified.

• Talk of raising the minimum wage, which has increased the focus on wage-and-hour laws and the availability of overtime pay.

• President Barack Obama’s recent directive to the Secretary of Labor to revise the regulations on white-collar exemptions, which has caused employees to pay more attention to wage-and-hour policies and practices.