Unpaid overtime a growing legal problem for many businesses
A 2012 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling may have more companies rethinking how they manage employee overtime.
The court decided that two major unpaid overtime lawsuits against CIBC and Scotiabank can proceed as class actions, alleging that bank employees were expected to work late regularly, but overtime policies made it difficult for staffers to get paid for their extra work.
The lawsuits could prove problematic for many employers — particularly small businesses, which often rely on workers to put in extra hours to get the job done, warns employment lawyer Laura Williams.
For details about these cases, go to www.unpaidovertime.ca.
Overtime pay is governed by different standards across Canada. In Ontario, for example, it must be paid for any work in excess of 44 hours per week.
While there are exceptions for managerial roles and those in professions like medicine and accounting, most employees are legally entitled to additional pay for excess work.
And they should fight to get it, labour activists argue, since regulators are generally inclined to side with workers:
"When an employee lodges a complaint with a provincial labour ministry alleging she's been forced to work overtime without pay—and has unofficial documentation tallying her hours such as her own notes—but you lack written evidence proving otherwise, recent decisions have sided with the worker on almost every occasion," Williams says.
Do you receive all the overtime pay you deserve? If not, what have you done about it?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money