By Michael Kun
“Hybrid” wage-hour class actions are by no means a new concept.
In a “hybrid” class action, the named plaintiff files suit seeking to represent classes under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and state wage-hour laws. As the potential recovery and limitations periods for these claims are often very different, so, too, are the mechanisms used for each.
In FLSA claims, where classes can be “conditionally certified” if a plaintiff satisfies a relatively low burden of establishing that class members are “similarly situated” – a phrase nowhere defined in the statute – only those persons who affirmatively “opt in” to the lawsuit become class members. In state wage-hour claims, governed by Federal Rule 23 (or a state law equivalent), a plaintiff generally must satisfy a higher standard – establishing numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy and superiority – and, if a class is certified, only those persons who affirmatively “opt out” are removed from the class.