Appeal court supports ruling that CIBC violated overtime obligations in class-action lawsuit
The Law Times talks to Steven Barrett and Louis Century about the CIBC class action win in the Court of Appeal
On February 9, 2022, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal brought by CIBC challenging the Ontario Superior Court’s ruling that it was liable for damages for unpaid overtime in a class action brought by bank tellers and other front line bank employees.
The Law Times spoke to Louis Century and Steven Barrett about the case.
The case confirms the law regarding an employer’s duty to pay overtime to workers and ensure all hours are recorded. It is the only unpaid overtime class action in the country litigated to the merits, co-counsel for the plaintiff, Louis Century says.
Century says the decision is a resounding vindication because CIBC went to great lengths to undermine Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba’s decision. “Unlike other similar class actions where the bank defendants settled, CIBC chose to fight the case, and we now have a decision on liability on the merits, finding that the bank violated overtime law and a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal firming that decision.”
Steven Barrett, another co-counsel for the plaintiff, says that ensuring that the class members get compensated for the unpaid overtime is the next step. He says Justice Belobaba’s decision opens the possibility of the plaintiffs quantifying unpaid wages through an expert methodology rather than coming forward individually.
“There’s a hearing on that issue scheduled for the end of September, but we’re hopeful that the bank will be willing to sit down and work out the payment for the CIBC employees unlawfully deprived of overtime pay rather than continuing to fight this case tooth and nail as they’ve done since 2007.”