Class Actions in Employment Related Disputes

The Canadian Class Action Review, Vol. 11, No.1, October 2015

22 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2014 Last revised: 27 Nov 2015

Peter S. Spiro

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance

Date Written: November 12, 2014

Abstract

The traditional means by which workers asserted their collective rights was the union movement, but that has been in severe decline in the private sector. Class action lawsuits would appear to be the ideal modern substitute. There have been a few noteworthy successes for employees in the last few years, helping to ensure that employers in the banking sector abide by statutory requirements to provide overtime pay. Certification has proven to be a significant hurdle in these actions, and there appear to be some meritorious cases where certification was not achieved. It is arguable that the case law that has developed around the finding of a common issue for certification is too confining for the employment context. The application of the certification tests ought to be nuanced and contextual. Employment class actions typically involve a considerable amount of diversity among individual employees. In such situations, it makes sense for the court to focus on the overriding central principles as providing a common issue, rather than using the individual variations to reject certification.

Keywords: class actions, employment law, overtime, classifcation, certification, Canada, Canada Labour Code

JEL Classification: K31, K41

Suggested Citation

Spiro, Peter S., Class Actions in Employment Related Disputes (November 12, 2014). The Canadian Class Action Review, Vol. 11, No.1, October 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2523754 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2523754

Peter Samuel Spiro (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance ( email )

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 218
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T9
Canada

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