Overtime Class Action Settlement Approved

In previous editions of EMPLawyers’ Update, we chronicled the developments of multi-million dollar class actions for withheld or underpaid overtime hours filed against various national banks. For the Bank of Nova Scotia, this saga may be nearing its end, as on August 12, 2014 Justice Belobaba of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved a settlement proposed by the parties.

This all began in December 2007, when a class action lawsuit was commenced against the Bank on behalf of certain full‐time retail branch employees. The lawsuit claimed that the Bank had failed to pay overtime compensation to entitled employees, resulting in financial damages in the form of lost overtime wages.

The lawsuit was certified as a class proceeding in 2010, and the certification was upheld on appeal by the Ontario Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal, with leave to the Supreme Court of Canada being denied in 2013.

In Justice Belobaba’s written decision, he approved the settlement which includes the following terms and conditions:

  • employees claiming unpaid overtime must submit their claim to the Bank by October 15, 2014;
  • employees may claim unpaid overtime for the period of August 12, 2014 retroactive nine or thirteen years, depending on the province in which the employee worked;
  • the Bank will review the claim, decide to pay the claim or reject it, and will provide reasons for doing so;
  • employees who are dissatisfied with the Bank’s decision on a claim may appeal to an independent arbitrator as part of a streamlined arbitration process;
  • the Bank will ensure that no employees are subject to any reprisal; and,
  • the Bank’s managers and supervisors will not contact claimants nor discuss the claim.

The Court held that the proposed settlement is “fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the class”.