The number of employment-related class actions reached an all-time high in 2021, with settlements totaling more than $3.62 billion, according to the 2022 edition of the Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report issued by Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw LLP. While there was initial speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic would minimize the size and pace of these settlements, the opposite has occurred. In 2019, workplace class action settlements totaled $1.32 billion, and in 2020, $1.58 billion.
“In the face of ongoing pandemic challenges, 2021 produced the largest workplace class action settlement numbers in the 18-year history of our analyses,” said Seyfarth partner and author of the annual report Gerald L. Maatman Jr. “The plaintiffs’ bar capitalized on a recovering economy and aligned priorities with the new Biden Administration to secure a record financial haul in 2021.”
This article discusses the workplace class action risks that business leaders face and key corporate employment litigation trends in 2022.
Workplace class actions can be detrimental to a business and remain one of business leaders’ top challenges. According to the report, the following are potential risks of workplace class actions:
As federal and state legislatures and administrative agencies add to the patchwork quilt of compliance challenges, workplace class actions become increasingly unpredictable.
As the plaintiffs’ class action bar continues to evolve and adapt to changes in legislation, agency rulemaking and case law precedents, the following are key employment litigation trends for corporations in 2022:
In 2022, many factors will influence employment-related litigation activity, including developing case law, case filing rends of the plaintiffs’ class action bar, the Biden administration’s labor and employment enforcement policies, and class certification rulings. For more information, contact us today.
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