Proposed Settlement in the Bank of Nova Scotia Unpaid Overtime Class Action

TORONTO, July 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Cindy Fulawka and her counsel at the law firms of Roy O'Connor LLP, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and Sotos LLP are pleased to announce today that the parties have reached a settlement in the closely watched unpaid overtime class action known as Fulawka v. The Bank of Nova Scotia.  The settlement is subject to court approval, with the judicial approval hearing scheduled to proceed on August 12, 2014 in Toronto.

The case was launched at the end of 2007.  The case was certified to proceed as a class action initially by Justice Strathy (as he then was) and was upheld at two levels of appeal over the subsequent years.  Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada from the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal was denied earlier in 2013.  The case was moving into discovery and trial phase of the litigation, but the parties entered into settlement negotiations early this year, which have now culminated in the proposed settlement with the Bank. 

If the proposed settlement is approved by the Court, current and former employees within the Class will then be invited and encouraged to submit claims for any unpaid overtime that was required or permitted by the Bank, regardless of whether it was approved at the time by a manager or not. The Claims period will go back as many as 13 years (depending on the limitation period in the Province or territory where the work was performed).  The claims will be made through a streamlined process, without the need for documentary evidence, and initially evaluated by the bank with a subsequent right to appeal to an independent arbitrator if any class member is not satisfied with the Bank's review.  The Bank has also committed to ensuring that any Class member who submits a claim will not be subject to any retaliation or adverse consequences, and to instruct its managers and supervisors not to discuss any claims for unpaid overtime with those Class members who may make a claim.

The Class consists of current and former full-time personal banking or small business banking employees at a retail branch, who since 2000 held one of the following positions: personal banking officer, senior personal banking officer, financial advisor, or an account manager small business (including its predecessor positions of Account Managers and Account Officers).

Cindy Fulawka (the representative plaintiff) is happy with the proposed settlement, stating that "It is has been a long fight but I am pleased that the Bank of Nova Scotia has now agreed to this process to pay its employees for unpaid overtime hours going back potentially many years."  Lead counsel (David O`Connor, Louis Sokolov and Steven Barrett) see this not only as a very good day for thousands of employees, both former and current, of the Bank of Nova Scotia, but more generally as a strong message to both employers and employees that overtime work must be paid.

This release is a general release and is not formal notice to the Class of the settlement approval hearing.  A copy of the court approved notice of the proposed settlement and the settlement approval hearing, and further details of the proposed settlement, will be available on the website unpaidovertime.ca.  A copy of the court approved notice is also being sent directly to Class members for whom a current address is available. 

SOURCE Roy O'Connor LLP

For further information: David O'Connor t. 416 362 1989 e. dfo@royoconnor.ca; Louis Sokolov t. 416-875-8715 e. lsokolov@sotosllp.com