I've written before about the high risks companies face from wage and hour class/collective lawsuits (here's one example). Here's another factor to consider: the exorbitant costs imposed by e-discovery and employers' obligations to preserve electronic records.
Workplace Prof Blog brings us the story of Pippins v. KPMG, a wage and hour collective action alleging that the accounting firm deprived its Audit Associates of overtime wages. Before the class was even certified, the court imposed upon KPGM the obligation to preserve the potential class members' more-than 2,500 laptop hard drives. Following certification, KPMG argued that instead of preserving all of the hard drives-at an astounding cost of more than $1.5 million-it should only be required to keep a representative sample comprised of the named plaintiffs.
The court disagreed:
Based on Plaintiff's recollections regarding their former hard drives, I agree with [Magistrate] Judge Cott that the hard drives are likely to contain relevant information. The information on the hard drives will likely demonstrate when the Audit Associates were working (hours) and what they did while at work (duties). This information is obviously relevant in a case asserting violations of the FLSA . . . since Plaintiffs need to establish what type of work they performed in order to prevail on the merits, and how many hours a week they worked in order to collect damages. . . .
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