Class Complaint/Class Action

    A class action is a civil court procedure under which one party, or a group of parties, may sue as representatives of a larger class. To proceed, the court must permit the class action. If the class action is certified, members of the class must be given notice, and the opportunity to exclude themselves from the proceeding. Only the class members who opt out are not bound by the judgment in the case.

    Class actions in federal courts are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. In recent years, the Congress has passed two statutes by overwhelming majorities that are designed to reign in some of the abuses in class action securities suits brought against high tech companies. These are the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA), passed in 1998.

    Example of Discrimination Class Complaint/Class Action:

    A complaint stated or filed by a group of people who feel that personnel or management policies or practices discriminate against them as a group. Members of the group believe that the characteristic they share -- race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disabilities --forms the basis for the discrimination. For example, a class may be made up of women who believe they have been consistently discriminated against at a company because of their sex. In such a case, all female employees, past and present, and all female applicants would be included in the complaint. When a class complaint goes to court, it becomes a class action. As with complaints by individuals, illegal discrimination may or may not have occurred.