My boss, a white male, is wage discriminating against minorities.


Additional  Information: The owner at my place of employment in Southboro is wage discriminating.  As a white male he pays Hispanics/blacks/females significantly less on average and in similar positions than white males. In a lot of cases the job levels/titles are identical and a Hispanic male will get paid 25% less than a white male. Same goes for females. Could the minorities work together with an employment attorney to file a complaint or would each individual have to file separately?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

Your question raises issues concerning class action lawsuits. It happens that Massachusetts currently has a bumper crop of such actions in the employment arena. Many class actions deal with wages and the classification of workers, and it’s also possible to bring suits for illegal discrimination. The facts in your situation appear to touch upon both of these areas.

Whether a class action suit makes sense depends on a number of factors. Employees generally are permitted to seek redress through the courts for violations of their individual wage and other rights. When enough workers suffer the same mistreatment, they may be able to form what’s called a “class” for litigation purposes. Class action cases normally make sense when the amount of damages each individual would recover in a suit would be relatively small, making an individual lawsuit difficult. Class actions are intended to remedy that problem. For starters, a class must have enough similarly situated members to make joining all of its members as plaintiffs impractical. The group of workers must generally suffer from the same form of mistreatment, frequently demonstrated with reference to a particular wage or other law, though the amounts of their individual damages can vary. Persons who bring the suit and serve as class representatives must do so adequately, through competent attorneys, and without overt conflicts between themselves and other possible members of their class. They must, of course, suffer from the injury they claim on behalf of the class they want to represent. Ultimately, the decision whether a class action can proceed will be up to a court.

Determining whether a class action makes sense for you will require evaluation of these and other factors by an attorney who specializes in this area. Before you do this, be sure to obtain an evaluation of your personal situation. Many employment laws provide for automatic legal fees, and Massachusetts wage laws may require courts to triple damages for violations. A claim you bring on your own may be worthwhile, then, and will likely be much more efficient than one you bring on behalf of a class. In some cases, the interests of employees in class action cases get subsumed by the interests of the attorneys they represent. Successful class actions are, after all, always highly profitable for the lawyers who prosecute them. The same cannot be said for individual employees, so whether and when to bring a class action should be carefully considered in all cases.

 

Southboro Employment Law Attorney Jack Merrill provides legal representation to employees, employers and businesses throughout the Boston metro west and Worcester County region including Ashland, Dedham, Framingham, Franklin, Hopkinton, Maynard, Marlborough, Milford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sudbury, Waltham, and Worcester, Massachusetts.