How to File a Class Action Lawsuit in Ohio

Sep 18, 2018
By Peter Friedmann

Before you file a class action lawsuit in Ohio, you must put together a class to file a lawsuit.

A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of people who were or are in similar circumstances when they suffered similar harm that can be remedied in similar ways. The Cleveland, Ohio-based class action lawyers at The Friedmann Firm handle lawsuits like this, an example of which could be a class of hourly workers for a large manufacturer who did not receive the overtime pay they were due. Alternatively, a class we represent might consist of women who consistently got turned down for promotions in favor of male co-workers who had less experience or fewer qualifications.

Step 1. Consult With an Employment Law Attorney

Many violations of a workers’ rights can provide grounds for a filing a class action lawsuit. These include:

  • Discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, sex, age, religion, pregnancy, or military service;
  • Unpaid wages and overtime;
  • Unequal pay for the same job; and
  • Sexual harassment.

An employer that engages in, or permits, such illegal treatment of one worker will often subject multiple people to similar mistreatment. Meeting with an employee rights lawyer will help you know if you have a case. That initial meeting will also start the conversation about whether a class of plaintiffs can be formed.

Step 2. Identify Co-Workers or Peers in Similar Circumstances

You can help put a class action attorney in touch with co-workers who are also being mistreated by your employer. It will not be your job to recruit other plaintiffs to make up a class, nor will you need to gather evidence beyond what you would provide your lawyer if you were the only plaintiff.

Forming the class also allows the plaintiffs to pursue legal remedies in ways they generally could not if they acted on their own.

Remember, though, that each member of the class must share significant characteristics (e.g., female employees getting paid less than male co-workers for doing the same jobs), have the same problem (e.g., sex discrimination manifesting as unequal pay between men and women) and be able to benefit from the same legal remedies (e.g., back pay with interest and salary adjustments).

Step 3. Choose a Named Plaintiff

One or two people must serve as the individuals who take an employer to court. This does not need to be the person or people who made the first complaint that led to the formation of the class, and it is a volunteer position. Usually, only the named plaintiffs have to participate actively in the case by doing things like giving depositions, appearing at hearings, and signing paperwork but sometimes, other plaintiffs must participate as well. All members of a class will share any monetary compensation and damages.  The named plaintiffs usually receive extra compensation for agreeing to be the named class representative.

Many steps follow from here, including gathering and analyzing business records, conducting depositions, filing pretrial motions, considering or going through mediation or arbitration, and, finally, going to trial. At each stage, relying on advice and representation from a dedicated and experienced Cleveland class action lawyer will be essential.

If you think you have grounds to pursue a class action employment lawsuit, contact an employment attorney in Cleveland offices of The Friedmann Firm. We offer free and confidential consultations, so call us at 440.703.8550 or schedule an appointment online by completing this form.