Scotiabank overtime suit granted class-action status

Case deals with 'systemic wrongs' and 'common issues:' Judge
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 03/04/2010

An unpaid overtime lawsuit against Scotiabank has been granted class-action status by an Ontario court.

The case alleges the bank didn't properly track extra hours worked, resulting in employees not being paid for the extra time they worked.

Cindy Fulawka, a personal banker at Scotibank for 20 years, is the lead plaintiff in the class action that will represent about 5,000 people who have worked as personal or senior bankers, financial advisers and small-business account managers at Scotiabank since Jan. 1, 2000.

Scotiabank spokeswoman Ann DeRabbie told the Canadian Press the bank was "disappointed" with the lawsuit's certification as a class action. She said Scotiabank had not yet decided whether to appeal the decision.

A judge dismissed a similar suit filed against CIBC and Scotiabank argued the judge in this case should apply the findings of the CIBC decision.

The bank also argued the case should be dismissed because the experiences of the claimants varies, but Louis Sokolov, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said there are many similarities between the employees' experiences and Justice George Strathy, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, agreed.

The case dealt with "systemic wrongs that give rise to common issues, the resolution of which would advance the claim of every class member," found Strathy.

In particular, a policy that placed the onus on employees to get approval in advance for overtime they expected to work made it "difficult for employees to obtain fair compensation," he said.

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