Toby Marshall Talks Employment Class Actions

Toby J. Marshall is a founding member of TMLG and helps lead the firm’s Employment Law and Class Action Teams. He has successfully tried several class actions and has served as class counsel in dozens of cases. Employment class actions have come under increased attack in light of Dukes v. Wal-Mart and other U.S. Supreme Court decisions, but Toby remains unfazed and continues to litigate these important cases.

Check out this Q and A with Toby:

Q: What types of employment class actions have you litigated?

TJM: I’ve worked on employment class actions involving a variety of wage and hour abuses, including overtime violations, rest and meal break violations, wrongful deductions and wage withholdings, contract breaches, worker misclassifications, and other types of wage theft. I’ve also sued over prevailing wage violations on behalf of smaller groups of employees.

Q: How many employment class actions have you prosecuted?

TJM: More than 15 and counting.

Q: Any advice you would give other employment attorneys considering class action practice?

TJM: When you meet with a client who is alleging wage and hour violation, consider the possibility that the violations are widespread and affect other workers. Employers usually have company-wide policies and practices in terms of compensation and other conditions of employees. As a result, if one employee is being consistently underpaid, there is a strong chance that a class of employees are being treated the same way.

Q: Are employment class actions still viable after Dukes v. Wal-Mart?

TJM: Absolutely. This is especially true for wage and hour disputes, which are ideally suited to class certification under Rule 23. In our cases, we work hard to show the court that there’s a widespread problem and that issues common to the class of employees can be efficiently managed and resolved and in one lawsuit.

Q: Do you think that employment class actions will be around in the future?

TJM: Wage and hour violations will always be a problem. In fact, a growing body of research suggests that wage theft is a national epidemic. For example, a recent study published by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) highlighted the prevalence of wage theft across the country and throughout various sectors of the labor market.

Q: Why do you think that wage and hour violations are so rampant?

TJM: Payroll constitutes the largest ongoing expense for most employers, and employers are often developing ways (or pressuring management to develop ways) to reduce those expenses. Frequently, these measures violate state and federal laws.

Q: What is your favorite part of employment class action litigation?

TJM: I really like the phone calls I get from class members who are elated because they have received a settlement award check in the mail as a result of our case. It’s a great feeling to help employees get paid the wages they’re owed for their hard work.