Major unpaid overtime class action launched against Scotiabank



    Action filed on behalf of branch personal bankers

    TORONTO, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - Lawyers from two Canadian law firms, Roy Elliott
Kim O'Connor LLP (REKO)and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (SGM) announced today
that they are launching a second unpaid overtime class action suit, this time
against Scotiabank.
    The action covers thousands of current and former non-management,
non-unionized employees of Scotiabank who are or were personal bankers or
other front-line customer service employees (limited to personal bankers,
commercial bankers and account executives) working at Scotiabank retail branch
offices across Canada (the "class members").
    The representative of the class action is Cindy Fulawka, a personal
banking representative who has worked in several Scotiabank branches in
Saskatchewan and Ontario for over 15 years. Based on her own experience, she
claims the unpaid overtime situation is widespread at the bank among non
management employees.
    "The average overtime I have been required to work ranges from ten to
fifteen hours a week, and often worse during RRSP season. We are expected to
be available 24/7 during this time, making calls on the weekend and in the
evenings, without overtime payments," she said.
    "Unpaid overtime appears to be widespread in the financial services
industry, affecting some of the lowest paid and most vulnerable employees,"
said Louis Sokolov, Partner, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell. "Because of a lack of
effective enforcement of federal labour laws, class actions, like this one can
be an effective means to compel employers to comply with the law."
    Douglas Elliott, Partner, Roy Elliott Kim O'Connor said that "since we
launched our class action against CIBC last June, we have been able to get
evidence from employees of that bank in all provinces and two territories to
put before the Court - this is an extraordinary amount of support and shows
how frustrated bank employees feel.
    "We said then that we suspected that CIBC was not the only Canadian bank
that was failing to pay its employees for the hours they actually worked. This
second case demonstrates that the problem does not appear to be unique to one
bank," Elliott added.
    The statement of claim alleges that class members are assigned heavier
workloads than can be completed within their standard working hours. They are
required or permitted to work overtime to meet the demands of their jobs and
Scotiabank fails to pay for the overtime work in direct contravention of the
Canadian Labour Code under which they are regulated.
    Bill Selnes, Partner, Kapoor, Selnes & Klimm in Saskatchewan and member
of the national legal team pointed out that "unpaid overtime doesn't only
happen in central Canada. It affects bank employees in all regions of the
country and in rural, as well as urban areas."
    On June 5th, 2007, Elliott and Sokolov introduced the lead plaintiff Dara
Fresco and the details of her complaint against CIBC for unpaid overtime.
Fresco represents current and former non-management employees of CIBC in the
largest employment-related class action ever undertaken in Canada. On November
15th, 2007 plaintiff's lawyers filed evidence in support of certifying the
class action from current and former CIBC employees representing every
province and two territories. This evidence confirms that Fresco's complaints
are common among CIBC employees across the country.
    The action announced on December 10 against Scotiabank is an entirely new
class action lawsuit. However, it alleges many of the same types of problems
relating to unpaid overtime.
    In order to facilitate other affected Scotiabank employees across Canada
joining this class action, REKO and SGM are working with Camp Fiorante
Matthews in British Columbia, Chivers Carpenter Lawyers in Alberta, Kapoor,
Selnes & Klimm.in Saskatchewan, Myers Weinberg LLP in Manitoba, Melançon,
Marceau, Grenier et Sciortino in Quebec and Pink Breen Larkin in Atlantic
Canada. Employees will have access to local counsel to determine whether they
qualify to be a member of the class.
    The law firms will attach the Scotiabank case to their existing web site
www.unpaidovertime.ca and phone number 1-888-687-2431 which allow other class
members to request, in strict confidence, more information about the class
action.




For further information:

For further information: Alison Stokes, (416) 504-8464,
Stokes@mediaprofile.com; Rachel Thexton, (604) 609-6153,
rachel@mediaprofile.com

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