Polsinelli, first and foremost, works with employers to comply with constantly changing federal, state, and local employment laws in an effort to avoid class, collective, and multi-plaintiff litigation, which is typically disruptive, time consuming, and expensive.

Historically, class, collective, and multi-plaintiff employment actions, especially wage and hour actions, have proven to be less lucrative for employees than others involved in the case. This imbalance appears to have resulted in the filing of numerous class, collective, and multi-plaintiff actions across the nation, frequently based on new and as-yet untested allegations and often without regard to an employer’s compliance efforts or any actual harm experienced. We are accordingly well-prepared to strategically defend our employer clients in all such local, regional, and nationwide actions.

Regardless of whether a case is highly complex or more routine, we work with our clients to systematically and creatively plan our individualized approach to each matter. Such case-specific strategies are guided by our in-depth knowledge of legal developments, each jurisdiction’s or forum’s unique demands, techniques the most prominent employee-class lawyers use and the activities of, and positions taken by, officials at various state and federal agencies. Most importantly, our strategy is driven by our clients’ business goals and objectives.

While we fully and aggressively defend matters to conclusion, we also successfully posture cases to negotiate an early resolution in order to avoid extended litigation. We provide our clients with realistic budgets and case assessments so they can make practical and effective business decisions. We execute effective information and document collection, organization and review strategies to help limit the interruptions class investigation and discovery can have on our clients’ businesses. Finally, we help our clients implement litigation hold strategies, identify information potentially related to financial planning and communications and assist with effective public relations efforts.

Our class litigators are creative and not afraid to try something new. As a result, we have successfully filed procedural and substantive motions to end or significantly limit class, collective and multi-plaintiff cases in their early stages. We have also successfully defeated and limited conditional and class certification (including on a nationwide basis), convinced employee-attorneys to dismiss or disregard significant portions of their cases, filed preemptive dispositive motions, conducted effective class-based discovery, identified and collaborated with well-known expert witnesses, defended cases following final certification or decertification, and deployed successful trial and settlement strategies.

Polsinelli has extensive experience handling class and collective actions involving the defense of:

  • Wage and hour lawsuits, including those based on:
    • Various exemptions and classifications (e.g., white-collar exemptions, independent contractor classifications, the retail commission employee exemption, exemptions applicable to public employees, volunteers, transportation workers, recreational workers; etc.)
    • Meal period and rest break claims
    • General off-the-clock activity, such as:
      • On-call time
      • Off-duty use of PDAs, cell phones, pagers, etc.
      • Travel time
      • Training time
      • Donning and doffing
      • Shift change activities
      • Rounding of clocked times
      • Auto-deduction of meal periods
      • Other general pre- or post-liminary activities, including walk- and wait-time, equipment gathering, security procedures, computer booting up or down time, etc.
    • Tip-related claims, including tip credit notifications, tip pooling or sharing, credit card and service charges, etc.
    • Piece or trip-rate claims
    • Deductions from pay, including those related to education or training, certifications, licensing, uniforms, etc.
    • Fluctuating work week claims
    • Commission plans, bonuses (including miscalculation of the regular rate), and rights to benefits
    • Private Attorneys General Act claims (California)
  • Discrimination lawsuits, including those based on:
    • Race and gender promotion or glass ceiling claims
    • Age discrimination claims related to reductions in force and release agreements
    • WARN Act claims
    • Equal pay, fair pay, and other compensation-related claims
    • Claims based on performance management/promotion systems
    • Failure to hire claims related to testing
    • Overall systemic discrimination claims (including federal and state agency investigations of same)
  • Lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and other governmental agencies
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits
  • Various procedural issues, including:
    •  Preemption issues based on analogous state laws
    • Jurisdiction and venue issues based on improper jurisdiction or forum selection, improper inclusion of foreign defendants, etc.
    • Enforcement of arbitration agreements
    • Dismissal of class and collective action allegations in arbitrations

We have significant experience representing companies in class and collective actions in the following industries:

  • Health Care
  • Retail
  • Financial
  • Technology
  • Hospitality
  • Sports & Entertainment
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Education
  • Manufacturing
  • Food Processing
  • Transportation
  • Delivery Services
  • Media
  • Sales
  • Engineering
  • Customer Service

Recent recognition for the Labor & Employment practice include:

  • Nationally ranked in Benchmark Labor & Employment Litigation, 2019
  • Nationally ranked in Tier One for Litigation- Labor & Employment by U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Law Firms” (2019)
  • Rated as a Standout in both complex and everyday employment litigation in the 2019 BTI Litigation Outlook, one of only 15 firms so recognized, based on a survey of more than 300 general counsel at companies with more than $1 billion in revenue
  • Plaintiff brought a collective action for alleged violations of the Kansas Minimum Wage and Maximum Hour Law (“KMWMHL”). Filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims on the basis that the KMWMHL was inapplicable to defendant. The court ruled from the bench granting defendant’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appealed and the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.
  • Plaintiff brought claims against former employer for retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and failure to pay overtime. Obtained partial summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's overtime claim and court holding that defendant's fluctuating work week method of paying overtime was compliant.
  • Defended numerous clients through FLSA litigation and negotiated settlements favorable to defendant.
  • Former employee brought Department of Labor action against construction company, claiming unpaid wages and bonuses. DOL hearing office held in favor of company stating that employee had received all wages owed and was compensated properly.
  • Defend and obtain favorable settlement for pharmaceutical company in nationwide collective action by employees alleging unpaid wages for donning and doffing activities.
  • Defend and obtain favorable settlement for cable installation company in nationwide collective action brought by employees alleging unpaid overtime wages and unlawful deductions when classified as independent contractors.