On July 7, 2020, Monkhouse Law successfully certified a $5 million class action against Approval Team Inc., a car dealership with 5 locations operating across the Greater Toronto Area. The class action alleges that Approval Team’s employees were misclassified as independent contractors and that, as a result of this misclassification, those employees were not paid out overtime pay, vacation pay, or statutory holiday and premium pay.
This class action is unique in that it is one of very few class actions successfully certified against employers in the automotive sector. Monkhouse Law’s successful certification of Rallis v Approval Team class action may open up new possibilities for achieving justice for more employees in a breadth of industries across Canada.
Employment law class actions are relatively uncommon. Consequently, there is comparatively little legal precedent for each case.
Rallis v Approval Team is also notable in its inclusion of the directors of the company as defendants in the class action. Naming directors as defendants means that each director could be held personally liable for any damages awarded in the class action. This is the second class action where Monkhouse Law has succeeded in naming the company’s directors as defendants, Morris v Solar Brokers was the first employee misclassification class action.
The central issue of certification is not whether the Plaintiff’s claim is meritorious. Rather, at certification, the Judge determines whether there are common issues that can be resolved on a class-wide basis. According to section 5(1) of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, SO 1992, c 6, the Court will certify a class proceeding if:
a. the pleadings or the notice of application discloses a cause of action;
b. there is an identifiable class of two or more persons that would be represented by the representative plaintiff or defendant;
c. the claims or defences of the class members raise common issues;
d. a class proceeding would be the preferable procedure for the resolution of the common issues; and
e. there is a representative plaintiff or defendant who,
i. would fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class,
ii. has produced a plan for the proceeding that sets out a workable method of advancing the proceeding on behalf of the class and of notifying class members of the proceeding, and
iii. does not have, on the common issues for the class, an interest in conflict with the interests of other class members.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Glustein found that the proposed class action, with some minor modifications, met all of the criteria from section 5(1) of the Act and therefore certified the class action. In Justice Glustein’s decision, he commended both parties’ legal counsel for their cooperation, common sense, and respect toward each other.
Monkhouse Law will continue to provide updates on the Rallis v Approval Team class action as the case progresses.
Should you have any information regarding Approval Team, or if you are concerned about misclassification and unpaid overtime in your workplace please contact Alexandra Monkhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone to 416-907-9249 ext. 211.
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