Ontario court certifies "misclassification" overtime class action involving investment advisors

26 août 2013

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On August 20, 2013, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a claim by a class consisting of investment advisors for unpaid overtime.  The defendant, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., argued that investment advisors fall within the exemptions for overtime pay set out in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) either because their role is supervisory or managerial in nature, or their overall autonomy and potential for high earnings provided them with benefits greater than overtime pay.  The representative plaintiff, a former investment advisor, alleges that he and his fellow investment advisors were misclassified as exempt from the overtime pay requirements.  In his decision, Justice Belobaba certified as a common issue the question of class member eligibility for overtime pay under the ESA and their contracts with the defendant.

While the courts have certified a number of class actions pertaining to overtime recently, all have been in the context of “off-the-clock” actions where the main issue was not whether the employees at issue were eligible for overtime pay, but rather whether the policy requirement that overtime would only be paid where employees obtained prior approval was contrary to employment and labour legislation. This is the first “misclassification” case of its kind to be certified in Ontario.  For a more detailed summary of this decision please visit our Employment & Pension Law Blog.

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