Settlement shows class actions are a tool for non-unionized employees to assert their rights
Law Times talks to Josh Mandryk about the access to justice benefits of class actions
Law Times is reporting on the tentative settlement in the proposed class action against Russell Security Services. The security company required security guards to show up at least 15 minutes early for their scheduled shifts but did not pay them for that time.
Josh Mandryk explained the importance of class actions in getting access to justice for non-unionized workers and for getting employers to change their practices:
“This case is significant in employment class actions as it’s another example of classes of non-unionized employees negotiating employer policy changes as part of class action settlements,” says Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer with Goldblatt Partners. He represented class-members along with Goldblatt colleagues Geetha Philipupillai, Christine Davies and Charles Sinclair.
“It’s really a great example of continuing to expand the use of class actions to provide access to justice to low income and precarious workers,” says Mandryk.
“Behavior modification is one of the key pillars underlying class actions. It’s one of the key goals of class actions,” says Mandryk. “And so, to be able to negotiate these changes, going forward, in the employment context, we think is a perfect example of behavior modification in class actions at its very best.”
The Russell Security settlement comes just short of a year after the Ontario Superior Court approved a settlement agreement in another class action brought by security guards against their employer. In Horner v. Primary Response Inc. et al., Goldblatt acted for the class members who alleged Primary Response, which is owned by Garda Canada Security Corporation, also required guards show up for an unpaid 15 minutes before their shift, was unlawfully averaging overtime pay, deducting from wages the cost of uniforms and not paying guards for the time spent training them for the job. The settlement amounted to $2.9 million, spread across those four categories, says Mandryk.
“We see employment class actions as a tool in the toolkit for non-unionized workers to try and improve and enforce their rights at work,” he says.