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Do damages have to be the same for each employee in California Class Actions?

A recent California decision clarifies the law on whether a class may be certified when damages are different for each member of the class. In some ways, it was surprising to us to find that the federal trial court had even questioned the point, since by definition, each member of a meal, rest break or overtime violation would have different damages. The point is usually argued as to whether a common practice or policy is in place that led to those violations.

Class actions are complex and require commonality of issues, numerosity of members, and a finding that the class action method of adjudicating the dispute is superior to hundreds if not thousands of individual trials. Without availability of class actions, may wage earners in California would not pursue their rights since the recovery would be too small to justify.

Danz & Associates is currently litigating numerous class actions including one in San Diego on behalf of exempt (not entitled to overtime) employees who are docked “time” from their personal time banks for taking half day absences.