Who’s Invited to the Party?: The Status of Collective Action Opt-Ins

Andrea Mickles filed a complaint against her employer Country Club Inc., alleging it had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by improperly classifying her and other employees as independent contractors and failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.  She filed her case as a collective action, and others opted into the case before any ruling on conditional certification.  Those opt-ins eventually provided the Eleventh Circuit with an opportunity to address an issue of first impression in any Circuit: What is the status of individuals who opt into a case that is never conditionally certified?The FLSA 29 U.S.C. §216(b) allows a plaintiff to file a complaint on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated employees in a collective action suit. Unlike a class action, in which similarly situated individuals are bound by the judgment unless they opt-out, a collective action only binds individuals who affirmatively opt-in. Typically, collective actions…

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