A class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook at the Montreal courthouse. The class action claims that Facebook allowed the publication of anonymous accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Before a court can begin to examine whether Facebook committed such actions, and should be held responsible, a judge must grant permission for the class action to proceed.
Wave of accusations
During the past few weeks, a wave of accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault appeared on Facebook, as well as on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
The person who filed the class action against Facebook saw their name on the list of alleged aggressors. The class action aims to determine the responsibility of Facebook for material published on its platforms.
Requirements for a class action
A judge must first grant permission for a class action to proceed. In this initial stage, the judge must ensure that certain requirements have been met, including that:
- Other people have a similar problem
- A class action is better for solving the problem than many separate court cases
- The representative (see below) is qualified to represent the members
- The class action has a chance of succeeding
If the judge finds that all the requirements have been met, permission will be granted to start the class action.
The representative and the lawyer
The person who starts a class action is called the representative. The representative speaks for all the people, called members, who will receive compensation if the class action is successful.
To become a representative, a person must:
- have a direct interest in the problem that led to the class action
- understand the issues involved in the class action
- agree to be actively involved in advancing the class action in the interests of its members
The person must also hire a lawyer to ensure the class action is properly handled. This is mandatory.
For more information, see our article Starting a Class Action.