How-an-Employee-Class-Action-Begins-Part-2-of-2.jpg (4297×2317)[Continued from Part 1]

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on how start a class action lawsuit against your employer. Last time we talked about how most class actions start with one person who decides not to take a violation of their employee rights lying down. Over time, they realize there are many other employees who have been treated unfairly in the same way. Once a pattern emerges, you have an opportunity to bring these abuses to light, win compensation for yourself and your colleagues, and force our company to take responsibility for their bad behavior.

Join us today as we pick up where we left off.

The Investigation and Strength in Numbers

Once it is realized that the employer has a pattern of discriminatory promotion, raise provision, and possibly hiring practices, the ball is rolling. It’s time to investigate the company’s history of mistreatment beyond the few people you have already identified. There are a number of ways to do this using resources both inside and outside the company. In this process, it is vital that you carefully obey the law if your intention is to access employee files or hunt down employees that may be in a similar situation to the one you and your coworkers have experienced.

Often, the safest starting place is with employees who have been fired, laid off, or quit in the last ten years. You may be able to find them by searching LinkedIn, for example, for people with this company listed as a previous employer.

The most important thing to remember is that there is strength in numbers. While your company may be able to punish, intimidate, or even bribe one or two employees (or past employees) into keeping quiet about their mistreatment, a large group of employees who all tell the same story cannot be so easily ‘hushed up’. And anyone who is no longer working for the company has more ability to speak freely about their experiences without fear of retaliation.

Working with a Class Action Lawyer

Once you have a large and growing group of people who have all experience mistreatment at the hands of the company, it’s time to contact a lawyer. An experienced class action attorney will take an interest in your case and be able to advise you on the next logical steps to a successful class action suit.

Most likely, they will help you clarify your points, narrowing down the many stories of mistreatment into a few actionable legal infractions. Companies that form a pattern of abuse often have several ways in which they mistreat employees and refining these issues into legal points is critical to making a strong case.

They will also help you choose a single primary defendant, one person whose story will define how the class action is addressed in court.

The Primary Defendant

The way class actions work, the court focuses on a single defendant whose story epitomizes the abuses of the company being sued. This defendant needs to be your best possible representative because the results of the trial based on their situation will affect the outcome for everyone involved. The purpose of a primary defendant is to simplify the court case. Rather than hearing dozens of stories, the jury and judge will hear one defining story that is easy to understand and clarifies exactly how the company has been mistreating all employees in a similar way.

The primary defendant needs to have a strong case against the company, no holes in their story, and ideally no questionable behavior during or after their employment that the company’s lawyers can pick at to reduce their credibility in the eyes of the jury. This is the best way to present a strong class action suit and get a definitive favorable result for everyone involved.

Getting the Justice You Deserve from Your Employer

Employers targeted by class action suits tend to play dirty. After all, playing dirty is how they created a pool of mistreated employees and ex-employees in the first place. They will likely make false accusations to defend their actions, deny bias or overt mistreatment, and protect their ‘pet’ managers who have been getting away with employee abuses. For these reasons, and to make a strong case of your own, you need an experienced class action lawyer capable of defending each and every one of your employee rights.

Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we specialize in protecting employees from the abuses of large companies who think they can get away with mistreatment just because they are large and have deep pockets. Let us defend your employee rights and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve for experiencing mistreatment at the hands of your employer.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986