Can a formal complaint stem a California class action lawsuit?

There are a large number of complaints that are filed in and emanate from workplaces here and across the country each year. These complaints are usually filed when a California employee feels like they have been treated unfairly. However, a formal complaint recently filed in another state has alleged that his civil rights have been violated due to new hiring laws that went into place long after the man began working for Wells Fargo Bank. The man's complaint may serve as the starting point of a class action lawsuit, which allows many employees who have been subjected to the same claims of discrimination, to seek relief before the courts. If class action status is achieved and it is proven that the man was victimized discriminatory policies in his employment, penalties and financial relief may apply.

The complaint arose when the 68-year-old man was fired from his job at Wells Fargo as a call center employee. The termination arose, when, after many years of employment, Wells Fargo discovered that the man had a criminal conviction for fraud that dated back almost 50 years ago. His conviction arose from him placing a fake coin into a laundry machine. The man served two days in prison back in 1963 after he was convicted for the offense.

A complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Iowa, where the man was employed. It has been reported that it can take several months for the complaint to be reviewed by Iowa officials to determine whether they need to investigate the complaint. However, the man apparently does not intend to wait that long to take action. It is unclear at this time when the man plans to file a civil suit and whether class action status will be sought before a federal court.

A successful employment class action lawsuit against an employer has the potential to change how businesses operate throughout California and the rest of the country. If an employee feels that they, as a potential representative of a larger class of workers, have been unfairly treated, this type of lawsuit may serve as a significant remedy. By researching the relevant California and federal law and by comparing the law to the employment policies in place, it may become apparent that a cause of action exists on behalf of a group of employees alleging illegal and discriminatory practices in the work place.

Source: The Des Moines Register, "Fired Wells Fargo employee files civil rights complaints," Victor Epstein, Sept. 5, 2012

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