Class action for unpaid overtime against BMO Nesbitt Burns to proceed

Ontario court denies financial company's appeal of certification of employees' class action suit

TORONTO (CP) — A second Ontario court has ruled that a class action by employees seeking compensation for what is alleged to have been unpaid overtime can proceed against BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Lawyers for the employees said Wednesday that the Ontario Divisional Court earlier this week issued reasons denying BMO Nesbitt Burns leave to appeal an earlier decision certifying the class action.

"The denial of leave to appeal means that the earlier order of Justice (Edward) Belobaba certifying the class action against BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. stands," a joint statement issued by Koskie Minsky LLP and Eli Karp at Merchant Law said.

Lawyers say the latest class action covers more than 1,500 current and former investment advisers, associate investment advisers and investment adviser trainees employed by Nesbitt Burns since 2002.

The class action claim alleges that Nesbitt Burns, owned by the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), breached its duties to the class members by systematically and improperly denying them overtime.

Yegal Rosen, a former investment adviser with Nesbitt Burns between 2002 and 2006, has been appointed as the lead representative plaintiff in the action.

Rosen alleges that during this period he never received overtime compensation even though he worked between 60 and 80 hours per week.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

This class action follows several other "off the clock" overtime class actions by employees in the banking sector that seek hundreds of millions of dollars.

Back in March, the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for a pair of class-action lawsuits against Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Scotiabank seeking compensation for unpaid overtime.

The lawsuits allege thousands of workers were denied overtime pay even though they were assigned more work than could be completed within their standard hours.

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