Class-action members must share common grievance

When a worker files a lawsuit seeking class-action status, he must show the court that other workers are similarly situated to join the group. That means that if the litigation is based on retaliation, the original litigant must at least allege that other class members also experienced retaliation.

Recent case: Thomas filed a complaint, alleging that he had been underpaid. Soon after, he was terminated for something he admitted doing—lying on his application.

Then he sued, alleging he had been terminated in retaliation for complaining. He moved for class-action certification, claiming other workers had been underpaid, too.

But the class-action claim was tossed out after Thomas couldn’t show even one other individual who had allegedly not only been underpaid, but also had been arguably retaliated against. The entire case was dismissed. (Schemkes v. Jacob Transportation, 9th Cir., 2017)