Texas class action overtime lawsuits usually results in a court ordered, court approved notice sent out to potential class members early in the lawsuit. The issuance of notice to the class members early in the overtime lawsuit is critical so that Texas workers can make an informed decision about whether to join the lawsuit and stop the statute of limitations from running on their claims for unpaid overtime compensation.
Unlike Rule 23 class actions in which the statute of limitations is tolled for all potential class members with the filing of the complaint, the statute of limitations under the FLSA is not tolled with the commencement of the action or even with an order granting conditional certification. Fisher v. Michigan Bell Telephone Co., C.A. 2:09-cv-10802, 2009 WL 3427048, at *8 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 22, 2009). Rather, the statute of limitations continues to run on each individual’s claim until they file their written consent to join the action with the court. Id.; see also 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (“No employee shall be a party Plaintiff to any such action unless he gives his consent in writing to become such a party and such consent is filed in the court in which such action is brought.”). Although the notice process does not stop the statute of limitations, it does, at a minimum, notify the potential class members of the case, and that the statute of limitations is running on their claims. Fisher, 2009 WL 3427048, at *8 (citing Hoffmann – La Roche, 493 U.S. at 170). A collective action allows plaintiffs the advantage of lower individual costs and benefits the judicial system by efficient resolution of common issues of law and fact arising from the same alleged activity in a single proceeding. Sperling, 493 U.S. at 170.
However, these benefits “depend on employees receiving accurate and timely notice concerning the pendency of the collective action, so that they can make informed decisions about whether to participate.” Id. Texas overtime lawyers often seek class notice as soon as an overtime lawsuit is filed. When a collective action is filed, courts have the managerial responsibility to ensure that the joinder of additional plaintiffs is accomplished in an efficient and proper manner. Id. at 170-71. Timely, accurate notice is also important because the action is not considered commenced for purposes of the statute of limitations until the date on which an employee’s written consent is filed with the court. See McLaughlin v. Boston Harbor Cruises, Inc., 2006 WL 1998629, *1-2 (D.Mass. Jul. 17, 2006). Many Courts in Texas, California and New York regularly authorizes the issuance of class notices in the early stages of overtime lawsuits.