To successfully bring a class action lawsuit, the claims must satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)'s requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequacy.
With respect to numerosity, there must be at least 40-50 similarly situated individuals for a class to be certified. It is unclear whether your former employer would be large enough to have 40-50 former employees who were defrauded out of their unemployment benefits during the time period encompassed by the applicable statute of limitations.
In addition, the claims of each class member must arise from common facts and pose common questions of law. If individual questions predominate over common questions, then the case would not be suitable as a class action. In other words, the reasons for denial of unemployment benefits may involve too many individual facts to satisfy the commonality requirement.
Finally, the claims must satisfy one of the Rule 23(b) criteria -- generally that a class action would be a superior method of bringing the claims.
You should consult with a law firm that handle employment-related class actions to determine whether your case should be brought as an individual or class action.
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Disclaimer: My answer provides information about the law based on the limited information provided in the questions asked and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on the jurisdiction or situation. Accordingly, I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney to discuss the details of your problem so you can get legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances.
There are various statutes (federal and/or state) and common law grounds upon which a lawsuit could be based with the facts as you present them. Whether the claims should be brought individually or as a class is a separate question. The damages that you might be able to recover include the value of the benefits which were denied and any other damages, financial or otherwise, you suffered as a result of the employer's actions.
My law firm has substantial experience in handling employment-related matters and class actions, and I would be happy to discuss this matter with you further.
This attorney is licensed to practice law in New York. Any information contained above and herein is not legal advice and does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship. This attorney advises the questioner to contact an attorney as soon as possible.