Alexandra Monkhouse, Employment Lawyer at Monkhouse Law explains:
1. What is a class action lawsuit?
Class actions are procedural means of aggregating small claims which wouldn’t make sense to pursue individually and to deal with a whole group all at once. In Ontario, you don’t have to opt in to a class action. Once an action is certified, you have the option of opting out, but as long as you don’t opt out, everybody is in.
2. How do you start a class action lawsuit?
To start a class action, you need one representative plaintiff who would act for a group of two or more people.
3. What types of class actions are there?
There are three types of employment class actions: misclassification class actions, minimum standards class actions, and pension plans class actions. Generally, a judge is looking for a class, that means a group of two or more people that have common issues — meaning they have common legal and factual problems and for a cause of action, meaning that the harm that is imputed exists in law.
4. Can my participation in a class action lawsuit put me at risk of retaliation?
A company will not start a claim against you if you’re part of a class action. They will defend the action, but they don’t have individual recourse against the potential class members or, even later on class members.
5. Could winning a class action lawsuit affect my income and taxes?
Everything affects your taxes. If you get more money, then that money will be taxed generally as employment income. But it’s always good news for the recipients to get more employment income.
6. What is the first step in a class action lawsuit?
Certification is the first step in a class action. At that point, the judge decides that the action can be dealt with collectively and that the group is a class that has potentially suffered from the same harm. The steps leading up to certification are: issuing the claim, conducting cross-examination and conducting cross-examinations on affidavits provided by the representative plaintiff and by the defendant and then the actual certification hearing.
7. How long does the process take?
Class actions are long battles. They can take years. Generally, the rule of thumb is that it takes about two years to get an action certified and following that the defendant might either consider settling the action or it might be a long drawn battle to a resolution on demerits before the courts.
For more information regarding class action lawsuits, please get in touch with us at Monkhouse Law.
Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm located in Toronto focusing on workers’ issues. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.