TD faces class action lawsuit over travel insurance and cancelled trips amid pandemic

Flight Centre Canada’s overtime lawsuit settled with $7m payout

TORONTO — Flight Centre Canada will pay $7 million in a settlement for a $100 million proposed employment class action lawsuit that included accusations of unpaid overtime.

Filed in February 2019, the lawsuit alleged that the travel retailer breached provincial employment standards legislation across the country by failing to track and properly compensate its travel consultants for the overtime hours they worked.

Flight Centre denied the claims and has been defending the lawsuit. When the suit was served in February 2019 Flight Centre said it included several false assertions and factually incorrect allegations.

The two sides, along with a mediator, began settlement discussions last month. The settlement is still subject to court approval. Flight Centre notes that no determination has been made on the merits of the claims.

The $7 million includes legal fees, disbursements, administrative expenses and an honorarium to the plaintiff, to be distributed to class members. Each member’s respective portion will be calculated based on factors including their length of employment and what province they work in.

Flight Centre will implement a new timekeeping system for recording and tracking overtime hours, under the terms of the settlement.

The retailer notes that employment standards legislation varies across the country. Some provinces have lower overtime thresholds, and Flight Centre says the distribution of funds will take these differences into account. It also recognizes that B.C.’s legislation contains a unique exemption from overtime pay for commissioned salespeople.

Stephen Aps, representative plaintiff in the class action suit, says he’s proud of the settlement “and what it achieves for Flight Centre’s travel consultants. As anyone who has worked in the travel industry knows, the work of travel consultants is hard, and often involves putting in long hours to meet the needs of their clients. I am particularly pleased that under the settlement, Flight Centre will implement a new timekeeping system for recording and tracking overtime hours that will ensure employees are properly compensated.”

John Beauvais, President, Flight Centre Canada, said: “We are pleased to be able to put this litigation behind us as we respond to the challenges facing the travel industry caused by COVID-19 and prepare to welcome our clients back to travel. More than ever, our clients will need travel consultants to guide them in their bookings. We will continue to comply with applicable employment standards legislation governing hours of work and overtime to maintain our reputation as an employer of choice for motivated travel consultants while ensuring that they are fully compensated for all of their hard work.”