Class actions work well to attack group industrial injuries, illegal employer practices, widespread sexual harassment, defective products, and aircraft accidents. Courts grant class action status where a number of persons are harmed by the same illegal action or product.

There are two major benefits to consumers involved in a class action:

The first is the obvious advantage of having a number of persons joining to provide strength and cost savings in proving the illegality or damaging nature of the object of the lawsuit. These persons can also help others who do not want to publicly complain for fear of losing their job, but can still be compensated as “class members” in any settlement or court resolution.

The second benefit is not as commonly considered, but is equally if not more important. This is having the focus of the lawsuit taken off one individual plaintiff and onto a larger number. The stress of a lawsuit, even if eventually settled, is heavy for any injured party and their family.

To have the support of others who are suffering from a similar problem is always very positive. Furthermore, especially in the employment area, to force the employer to deal with multiple complainants rather than just one takes the focus completely away from each particular employee’s work record or other possible problem areas and forces the employer to squarely defend its own practices.

A good example is sexual harassment. If only one person complains, that person’s own work record and to some extent their personal life may be attacked by the employer. If several women complain of the same harassment, then individual attacks on each one will only backfire since no one could believe they could all be wrong.

Another example is where a large number of employees were injured over time when doing a certain job, such as work with asbestos. If the practice or action that a person is complaining about has hurt others, then it is always wise to try to get them to join in fighting it.

Class action litigation is categorised as complex litigation and has special rules so it is important to be certain that any attorneys that you talk to have the experience and scope to handle class litigation.

See also…

Class Actions and Defective Products