Overtime class-action claims: Is second wave rolling in? (Guest commentary)

Smaller employers may be the next to be hit with lawsuits
By Sara Parchello
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/04/2010

If you thought last year’s court decision refusing to certify an overtime class action against CIBC meant the death of such lawsuits in Canada, think again.

These lawsuits — where one or several employees act as a “representative plaintiff” to start a large claim against their employer on behalf of other similarly situated employees — are still showing up as workers claim overtime was never paid for. Several recent legal developments in this area, both in Canada and in the United States, should give Canadian employers renewed cause for concern.

First, CIBC may not yet be out of the woods. The primary claim against CIBC was for unpaid overtime on behalf of current and former, front-line retail bank branch workers. The proceeding could not be certified as a class action because of “lack of commonality of an issue that would significantly advance the case,” according to an Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge.