NELA files class action amicus brief in Rite-Aid class action

Posted on: August 11th, 2011 by Steve Larson

The National Employment Lawyers’ Association (“NELA”) filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit related cases of Knepper v. Rite-Aid (Case No. 11-1684) and Fisher v. Rite-Aid (Case No. 11-1685). Plaintiffs in those cases were employed as Assistant Store Managers and allege that defendant missclassified them as exempt and failed to pay overtime in violation of state law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The district court dismissed both cases holding that state class action claims were inherently incompatible with FLSA collective actions.

NELA’s brief argued that: 1) hybrid FLSA/state law class action cases are necessary to protect the rights of workers because violations of federal and state wage and hour laws are rampant and government enforcement is inadequate; 2) workers are authorized to bring FLSA/state law class action cases in federal court under the federal jurisdiction statutes and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; 3) the FLSA does not preempt state law or the federal jurisdiction statutes; and 4) Congress adopted the FLSA’s opt-in procedure before the ascendance of the Rule 23 opt-out procedure.

The Ninth Circuit has held that hybrid FLSA/state law class action cases are proper.