Canadian HR Reporter

September 8, 2014

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Page 25 of 27

Canadian HR RepoRteR September 8, 2014 26 INsIGHT Hefty bill is in on unpaid overtime Turning a blind eye to unpaid overtime can be a very costly HR strategy. It's a classic case of short- term gain, long-term pain. Scotiabank is feeling that long- term burn after it negotiated a set- tlement in a class-action lawsuit involving unpaid overtime. e suit was fi led in Ontario nearly seven years ago by Cindy Fulawka, a personal banking representative, and was settled in August. e actual cost of the settle- ment is up for debate — Adam Dewar, a lawyer at the fi rm of Roy O'Connor (representing the plaintiff ), told the Canadian Press the fi nal bill for Scotiabank could be upwards of $95 million. Sco- tiabank is disputing that number, said Dewar, but the law fi rm is receiving $10.45 million for its work. For its part, the bank said the fi - nal bill is "not fi nancially material," according to CP. In a statement, Scotiabank said it was pleased with the settlement: "We are confident that the bank's employee policies have been applied fairly and consistent- ly. We have always made it clear that when employees work over- time, we will pay them for their work or provide time in lieu and today's decision reinforces that commitment," it said. "We value each employee and know that their contributions are an integral part of our ongoing success." e settlement covers unpaid overtime worked between Jan. 1, 2000, to Dec. 1, 2013 — though the limitation periods in some provinces may limit how much back pay can be recovered. It cov- ers numerous job titles, including personal banking offi cers, senior personal banking offi cers, fi nan- cial advisors and account man- ager, small business. e agreement is also careful to spell out that employees who worked overtime and were not paid for it are eligible to fi le a claim regardless of whether overtime was approved by a supervisor or not. It also addresses the dicey situation of documentation. "(Scotiabank) acknowledges that many class members will not have documentation to support their claim," the agreement reads, as posted on Roy O'Connor's web- site. " e absence of documenta- tion does not prevent you from making a claim or preclude you from being paid for your overtime work." e settlement also makes it clear that employees who pursue claims will not be subject to any reprisals. e deadline for fi ling a claim is Oct. 15, 2014. Scotiabank is not alone when it comes to class-action lawsuits. e CIBC is currently battling a $600-million claim. Trucking fi rm Canada Cartage was also slapped with a $100-million claim. And CN Rail was sued, unsuccessfully, a couple of years ago. e Scotiabank ruling will only serve to embolden employees, and law firms, to pursue even more claims. Unpaid overtime has always been a poor HR prac- tice. It's bad for morale, it's bad for engagement, it's bad for retention and it's a work-life balance killer. Turning a blind eye was the easy thing to do but it's not easy any- more. In the wake (and expense) of this ruling, employers may want to be proactive when it comes to the risks of unpaid overtime. HR may need to educate man- agement on the price tag such practices carry, and line managers will need to be trained to ensure they don't — explicitly or implicit- ly — create a culture where people are expected to stay as long as it takes to get the job done. If the job isn't getting done dur- ing work hours, then conversa- tions may need to be had about productivity and workload — it's not fun, but it's a lot more enjoy- able than a lawsuit. Todd Humber eDitor's notes CaUGHT in THe aCT SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — in a case of life imitating art, a tV news an- chor has been charged with grand theft and burglary over the alleged theft of US$2,500 worth of wallets from a high-end retailer. Sabrina Rodriguez was charged in connec- tion with a 2013 incident in which merchandise was stolen from a Coach outlet store, according to Reuters. While she claimed inno- cence, publicity about the case — including a story on a rival station pointing out that Rodriguez had actually done a story on how easy it was to shoplift high-end wallets — led to the reporter and morning news anchor resigning. it's unclear whether Rodriguez did any news- casts on prison breaks. flYinG drUG-free ClaSS SYDNEY – Some employees go above and beyond the call of duty, with unintended consequences. When a crew member on austra- lian airline Jetstar found out sniff er dogs and quarantine offi cers were on standby in Sydney, she told pas- sengers on a fl ight from the Gold Coast tourist strip — including some returning from a popular music festival — to flush away "anything you shouldn't have." e announcement, made over the plane's pa system, prompted a rush to the plane's toilets, accord- ing to Reuters, citing news Ltd. e fl ight attendant took a routine announcement about austra- lia's strict quarantine regulations, which include some plant and fruit materials, and went too far, said Jetstar, owned by Qantas air- ways: " e crew member's words were poorly chosen and are plainly at odds with the professional stan- dards we'd expect from our team." But there were probably more than a few happy passengers who left that plane. danCinG Tea CaKe looKS HealTHY GLASGOW — Keen to take part in the Commonwealth Games, a daycare worker may have taken that enthusiasm a little too far and forgotten about the tV audience of 9.4 million viewers. amy Mcin- tosh had been signed off sick from work for several weeks when her bosses caught her on tV dancing as a giant tunnock's tea cake dur- ing the celebrations in Glasgow, said the Daily Mail. e 25-year- old had signed up to be a volun- teer but did not ask for time off for rehearsals, which began three weeks earlier — and she may now lose her job. "We couldn't believe it when we saw her," said a source at Woodlands day nursery. "(Mc- intosh) was playing the system by taking time off and getting sick pay as well. She was letting the whole team down." e source said Mc- intosh would have been allowed to take part in the opening ceremony, if only she had asked. "if she came to us, we would have let her have time off . We are very much for the Commonwealth, very much for Scotland." it's rumoured tea cakes will no longer be served at the nursery. SelfieS reveal WHole neW Side of GovernMenT ZURICH — it seems innocent enough: take some nude selfi es at your place of employment and post them on your twitter ac- count for 11,000 followers to see. at least that's what a secretary at the Swiss parliament must have thought when she took the pics at her offi ce in the Federal palace, a 162-year-old domed building in Berne where govern- ment and parliament meet, ac- cording to Reuters, citing Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung. e secretary did not believe she had broken any rules and said the pictures did not violate the guidelines for federal employees because they were part of her private life. But HR wasn't so sure: "parliamentary services will have to decide, based on the specifi c circumstances, whether this case breaches good faith obligations between employer and employee," said anand Jagtap, a spokesman for the government's HR depart- ment. perhaps a reconsideration of the dress code policy is in order. W EIRD orKplaCe THe a neW Kind of Union NEW YORK — Costumed superheroes NEW YORK — Costumed superheroes NEW YORK are fighting back — characters who pose for tourist photos in new york's times Square looking for a cash tip have formed an association to preserve their livelihood, according to Reuters. dozens of people dressed as Spider-Man, Bat- man, elmo or Mickey Mouse have been accused of harassing visitors, and police have arrested several performers in re- cent months, while telling tourists to call 911 with any complaints. So the associa- tion of artists United for a Smile is fi ght- ing back, said yamil Morales, one of the organizers for the group, which has more than 100 characters as members. "We're people who want to be treated as workers with dignity and not be treated as cartoon characters just because we wear a mask." Morales, a Colom- bian living in new york City who dresses up as the penguin, says he and Batman came up with the idea. Vol. 27 No. 15 – September 8, 2014 PUBLISHED BY Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. One Corporate Plaza 2075 Kennedy Rd. Toronto, ON M1T 3V4 ©Copyright 2014 by Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. All rights reserved. CANADIAN HR REPORTER is published 22 times a year. Publications Mail – Agreement # 40065782 Registration # 9496 – ISSN 0838-228X Director, Carswell media: Karen Lorimer - (416) 649-9411 publisher and editor: John Hobel (on leave) EDITORIAL managing editor/acting publisher: Todd Humber - (416) 298-5196 senior editor: Sarah Dobson - (416) 649-7896 News editor: Liz Bernier - (416) 649-7837 employment law editor: Jeffrey R. Smith - (416) 649-7881 labour Relations News editor: Sabrina Nanji - (416) 649-9348 labour Relations News editor: Liz Foster - (416) 298-5129 web/IT Co-ordinator: Mina Patel - (416) 649-7879 ADVERTISING account executive: Stephen Hill - (416) 298-5090 account executive: Kathy Liotta - (416) 649-9920 production Co-ordinator: Pamela Menezes - (416) 649-9298 MARKETING AND CIRCULATION marketing manager: Mohammad Ali - (416) 609-5866 marketing Co-ordinator: Keith Fulford - (416) 649-9585 PRODUCTION manager, media production: Lisa Drummond - (416) 649-9415 art Director: John Kieffer SUBSCRIPTIONS annual subscription: $169 (plus GST) GST#: 897 176 350 RT To subscribe, call one of the customer service numbers listed above or visit address changes and returns: Send changes and undeliverable Canadian addresses to: SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Canadian HR Reporter One Corporate Plaza 2075 Kennedy Rd. Toronto, ON M1T 3V4 ❑ From time to time, we make our subscriber list available to companies and organizations whose products and services we believe may be of interest to you. If you do not want your name to be made available, please check here and return with your mailing label. CUSTOMER SERVICE Call: (416) 609-3800 (Toronto) (800) 387-5164 (outside Toronto) Fax: (416) 298-5082 (Toronto) (877) 750-9041 (outside Toronto) email: carswell.customerrelations@ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CHRR reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. "Am I obese? No. Could I stand to lose some weight? Yes. One would think an HR manager would know better than to make a snide comment regarding my eating habits. Upon looking at a group picture taken in the lunchroom with several others actually eating (I was not at the time), my manager said to me, "There you are, pig- ging out as usual!" Was that appropriate? I think not. That stung, yet to whom do I complain? It just proves that even HR personnel, who should know better, are just as insensitive. — Madeleine Griffin, commenting on Brian Kreissl's blog "Do employers discriminate against overweight employees?" Join the conversation online. Comment freely on any blog on READER COMMENTS Credit: Lucas Jackson (Reuters) A person dressed in a Spider-Man costume stands with children in the Times Square region of New York.

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