Wednesday,  November 30, 2022  5:53 am

Flight Centre caught up in $100M class action lawsuit


Flight Centre caught up in $100M class action lawsuit
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

A proposed class action for unpaid overtime in the sum of $100 million has been filed against Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada) Inc. on behalf of all current and former travel consultants who worked for Flight Centre in Canada since October 2010 (the “class members”).

The Statement of Claim alleges, among other things, that Flight Centre violated applicable employment standards legislation and its contracts of employment with class members by failing to pay for overtime work.

Goldblatt Partners LLP represents the proposed representative plaintiff in this action.

"The type of unpaid overtime which is alleged in the statement of claim is pervasive in our economy, and we hope the case serves as a powerful reminder to workers and employers about their respective rights and obligations at work," Joshua Mandryk, representative, Goldblatt Partners LLP, told PAX.

"We estimate there are thousands of members in this proposed class."

Flight Centre responds

In a statement to PAX, Allison Wallace, VP, corporate communication & CSR, The Americas, Flight Centre Travel Group, says the company rejects the claim.

"Flight Centre complies with applicable employment standards legislation governing hours of work and overtime as the claim itself acknowledges," Wallace said. "The claim makes several false assertions and many of the allegations are factually incorrect. Flight Centre denies the allegations and will be vigorously defending this claim."

The details

According to the claim put forth, the defendant (Flight Centre Travel Group) failed to implement and maintain an effective, reasonable and accurate Class-wide system or procedure that accurately documented and recorded valid overtime hours.

Thus, employees were not compensated for their labour, the claim states. 

The claim also alleges that Flight Centre failed to notify Class Members of their entitlement to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of the overtime threshold under the applicable employment standards legislation.

Because travel agents earn a base salary and have the ability to pull in commission, many of them work longer and harder to ensure that they can take home a higher percentage of their sales as commission.

In the case of Flight Centre, those who logged overtime hours were not fairly compensated for their efforts, the claim states. 

According to the full report, those affected were, and in some cases still are, "regularly required to work beyond their scheduled hours of work due to the client-centred nature of their sales positions. 

The Class Members are frequently required to work through their unpaid lunch breaks and forgo their lunch break altogether to serve clients entering the store or contacting them via email and telephone. 

Furthermore, the Class Members are regularly required to work beyond their scheduled hours of work in order to serve clients who enter the store or call or email them at or near the end of their scheduled shifts."

About Flight Centre

Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada) Inc. is the largest brick and mortar travel retailer in Canada, with approximately 150 stores in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

Flight Centre is a “big box” retailer, with highly standardized work locations, job descriptions, policies and practices.

Flight Centre is the Canadian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd. (“Flight Centre Travel Group”), a global travel retailer founded in 1982.

Flight Centre Travel Group consists of 40 corporate and wholesale brands, located in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, China, United States and Canada. Flight Centre began operating in Canada in 1995.

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