What Criteria Makes a Legitimate Labor Case?

Interviewer: What are some of the basic criteria that someone needs in order to have a legitimate case?  Is there a certain amount of money that they’ve been not paid for overtime?  If it’s a really low level amount of possible damages, do you take the case?  What do you look for to know that someone actually has a case or not?

An Employee with Wages Issues That Has Only Worked a Few Weeks Is Not a Usually Viable Case

Michael: Yes.  Our minimum threshold here if a single plaintiff comes in and they’ve only been working there for maybe a month or two and we feel that they haven’t worked a sufficient amount of overtime hours to make the case viable, we would turn something like that down.

Cases Involving Multiple Individuals Employed Six or More Months Are More Viable Cases

However, most of the cases that we see we have plaintiffs working at least six months, and we know that there’s other plaintiffs out there. With a case like that, it would be more worth it for us to file that type of a case because of the amount of plaintiffs we can get, and if somebody’s working 60 or 70 hours a week overtime and not getting paid properly, that adds up pretty quickly, so after six months, that number starts to grow.

Adding the Liquidated Damages and a Fee Shifting Provision Increases a Case’s Strength

Once you add in the liquidated damages, that makes the case even stronger.  In addition, I don’t think I mentioned this before, but in these wage and hour cases that we bring, typically there’s something called a fee shifting provision, which means if we win, we can get the employer to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.

So when we sue, not only do we sue for the overtime wages and the liquidated damages, but we also sue for attorneys’ fees, and that’s something that we’ve been very successful at recovering, which helps the plaintiff because he gets to keep a bigger piece of the recovery.  He doesn’t have to pay the attorney out of the share that he gets.  Generally, we’ll get the defendant to pay that on his behalf.

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