Time and again, when precedent is at stake and millions of dollars are at risk, some of the country’s most recognized and respected businesses turn to Akin Gump’s top-ranked team to successfully resolve nationwide collective actions alleging “off the clock” violations or misclassification of employees under FLSA as well as state law wage and hour class actions—and the team has consistently delivered exceptional results. Akin Gump’s litigators have been nationally recognized for their ability to secure decisions that have—literally—altered the legal landscape across the country.
We have lawyers who focus on federal and state wage and hour litigation, DOL investigations, internal audits and strategic counseling. We have defended more than 250 wage and hour collective and class actions over the past 15 years against many of the most prominent plaintiff-side firms. We understand their methods and have incorporated this understanding into our defense strategies and suggested preventive practices. Our ability to offer clients comprehensive service is built on our extensive experience defending these cases at every stage, including trial and appeal. We have an established record of achieving excellent results that are both cost-effective and consistent with the business needs of our clients. Our partners, two of whom served as senior editors of the Fair Labor Standards Act (BNA) treatise, are recognized leaders in wage and hour law.
Our class and collective action experience covers the full spectrum, including claims related to the following—
- employee classification
- preliminary and postliminary activities
- meal periods and rest breaks
- “off the clock” work
- wage payment issues
- issues related to payment and distribution of tips
- independent contractor versus employee issues
- “suitable seating”
- alternative work schedules
- wage theft
- compensability of time under collective bargaining agreements.
Our attorneys have developed a broad range of innovative strategies to attack wage and hour class and collective actions, including—
- Use of Experts - Our lawyers were among the first to use sophisticated expert analyses—including expert witnesses in the areas of statistics, labor economics and surveys—to defend against class claims.
- Use of Class Member Testimony - We have developed and refined methods to quickly gather critical class member testimony.
- Limiting Discovery - We have succeeded in limiting discovery in some instances to a small subset of class members, so that the company can present its “best case” while reducing class litigation costs.
- Strategic Use of Summary Judgment - Our lawyers have used early summary judgment as an option for ending class cases early or exposing disparate factual issues that preclude class treatment.
- Trial and Appeal - We are one of only a few firms with meaningful wage and hour class action trial experience.
Wage and Hour Counseling
We also assist clients in a counseling capacity by ensuring that their workplace procedures are compliant with the constantly evolving and increasingly stringent federal and state legislation and DOL guidance. Using insights gained from our litigation experience, we identify strategies and best practices for employee policies and workplace practices in partnership with our clients’ in-house legal, management and human resources teams to preemptively mitigate risk. We are frequently called upon to perform targeted compliance audits, recommend and help implement remedial measures, and conduct training so our clients fully understand their obligations under federal and state law.
Department of Labor Investigations
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) conducts investigations into matters that are also the subject of private litigation. The firm has successfully resolved matters before the DOL involving the FLSA and has represented employers in virtually every sector of the economy, with work forces as large as 100,000 or more employees nationwide.