Some days, it feels like we’re taking two steps back, without even the moment of illusion of progress with one step forward. So it’s about time- long past time- we had some good news for workers’ rights in Kentucky. Here it is!
Wage theft is a huge problem in Kentucky (and everywhere across America). When you aggregate the amounts taken, it’s billions of dollars a year. (I’ve blogged about this once or twice before.) It’s the need to aggregate that brings me to the problem, and then the good news.
When one worker gets ripped off, it matters to that one person. The money earned, needed for rent and groceries, that pads the boss’ bottom line instead. It’s the money, and the humiliation. The damage done to self-respect when they can’t fight back. Because fighting back alone is rarely worth it.
It’s just too hard and too expensive for one worker to pursue one claim in court. So billions of dollars earned don’t get collected. Which brings me back to aggregation.
When one person is mistreated, you can be sure they aren’t alone. It’s more than likely standard practice that applies to lots of people. Getting them together is the trick. That’s a class action.
Class actions, in a word or two, are worth it. Evidence that applies across the board is compelling before a judge. The amounts of money can be significant. It’s no wonder Big Business hates and fears class actions.
Class actions to claim lost wages for lots of workers were normal in Kentucky for many years. Then a couple of lawyers got the wild idea that the state law meant only claims by one worker at a time in each case.
Thankfully, the Kentucky Supreme Court just straightened that out. In McCann v Sullivan, the Court made it crystal that wage-hour class actions are legal and proper.
Take heart. Believe again. Take one step up, and move forward, without falling two steps back. If you think you’re getting ripped off at work, and so is everyone else, call a lawyer who knows wage-hour law. Get your rights back.