CIBC avoids class action claim for overtime

Claims for unpaid overtime by analysts and investment advisors not a common issue: Court
||Last Updated: 05/02/2012

A class action suit by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) employees for unpaid overtime has been struck down by the Ontario Superior Court.

The suit was brought against CIBC on behalf of employees classified as analysts, investment advisors and associate investment advisors. The employees claimed they weren’t paid overtime pay for extra hours worked.

However, the court found there wasn’t enough in common between all the employees to warrant the case proceeding as a class action. Each employee’s claim to overtime pay was “an individual issue,” said the court. The court found the issue of whether each employee had managerial duties needed individual examination and the identification of "analysts" and "investment advisors" was too general to be considered a common class.  As a result, the court did not certify the class action.

“It will require individual fact-finding concerning the circumstances of every class member and the individual application of the relevant legal principles to those circumstances,” said the court. “A class action would not, therefore, be a fair, efficient and manageable way of advancing the claims of class members and would not promote either access to justice or a judicial economy.”

CIBC has been targeted in a class action lawsuit for overtime before. In 2007, an employee claimed she was forced to work extra hours regularly in order to get her assigned work done, and filed a class action claim on behalf other CIBC employees in similar situations. However, in 2009, the Ontario Superior Court refused to certify this claim as well, finding the issue at hand — whether CIBC applied its overtime policy illegally — had to be examined on a case-by-case basis for each employee.

For more information see:

Brown v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 2012 ONSC 2377 (Ont. S.C.J.).

(Updated May 2, 2012.)

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