On March 10, 2015, the Administrative Office Of The U.S. Courts released its annual statistics, showing the number of cases filed by subject matter during the 12-month periods ending September 30, 2009 through September 30, 2014. These statistics confirm what we reported in our 11th Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report – FLSA collective action filings increased in 2014, and represented the largest category of employment-related class action filings. By the numbers, workplace litigation filings stayed fairly constant from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, while wage & hour cases increased. By the close of that period, FLSA lawsuits totaled 8,160 (up significantly as compared to 7,500 during the prior twelve-month period). During this same 12-month period ending September 30, 2014, ERISA lawsuits totaled 7,191 (a decrease from 7,599 in the prior twelve-month period) and employment discrimination lawsuits totaled 11,937 (a decrease from 13,322 in the prior twelve-month period).
In sum, FLSA collective action litigation increased yet again in the twelve-month period from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, and far outpaced other types of employment-related class action filings. These filings represented another year-after-year increase in wage & hour litigation filed in federal courts. Virtually all FLSA lawsuits are filed as collective actions, so these filings represent the most significant exposure to employers in terms of any workplace laws.
Implications For Employers
As 2015 unfolds, the question employers want to know is whether the crest of the wave is in sight for wage & hour litigation?
We follow court filings nationwide on a daily basis. If the first two months of the year is any indication of what 2015 will bring, we did not yet see the crest of the wave of FLSA collective actions.