On October 26th, NELA, joined by AARP, The National Employment Law Project, The Legal Aid Society, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, the DC Employment Justice Center, filed an amicus brief in support of the Respondent, Laura Symczyk, in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. Our brief was drafted by Richard J. (Rex) Burch (Houston, TX), with assistance from J. Derek Braziel (Dallas, TX) and Douglas M. Werman (Chicago, IL).
Our brief discusses the importance of collective actions in remedying violations of our wage and hour laws. The brief points out that wage theft continues to be a serious problem for many American workers, particularly those employed in relatively low-wage positions. In order to attract legal representation and avoid retaliation, low-wage workers must be allowed to band together and collectively challenge unlawful wage policies and practices. Allowing employers to “pick off” individual plaintiffs before other aggrieved workers are allowed to join a case would permit a wide range of unlawful behavior to proceed unchecked. Moreover, an adverse ruling in this case could affect the other statutes that use the FLSA’s collective action procedures, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Equal Pay Act.