Stephen Aps and Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada) Inc. (“Flight Centre Canada”) have reached a settlement in the proposed employment class action, Aps v. Flight Centre Travel Group (Canada) Inc.
In February 2019, a proposed class action was commenced against Flight Centre Canada, claiming that the company 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 Canada denied these claims and has been defending this lawsuit. No determination has been made on the merits of the claims.
In July 2020, the parties entered into settlement discussions with the help of their respective counsel (Goldblatt Partners LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP) and an agreed-upon mediator. Following a mediation, the parties reached a settlement, which is subject to court approval.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, Flight Centre Canada will pay $7 million CDN to the class, inclusive of legal fees, disbursements, administrative expenses and an honorarium to the plaintiff, to be distributed to class members, with each member’s respective portion to be calculated based on factors including their length of employment and province of work.
In addition, under the terms of the settlement, Flight Centre will be implementing a new timekeeping system for recording and tracking overtime hours.
Employment standards legislation varies across the country, and the distribution of funds will take these differences into account by providing greater relative compensation to those in provinces with lower overtime thresholds and will also recognize that British Columbia’s legislation contains a unique exemption from overtime pay for commissioned salespeople.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the class will give Flight Centre Canada a comprehensive full and final release. This settlement, which is subject to court approval, will fully and finally resolve the litigation.
Representative plaintiff Stephen Aps said: “I am proud of this 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.”
Flight Centre Canada president John Beauvais stated that: “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.”