A British Columbia Appeal Court panel has certified a class-action lawsuit against the University of Victoria over a wage freeze that employees say the institution wasn’t legally authorized to make.
The three-member panel overturned a lower court ruling that had tossed out an application to certify as a class action by Susan Service, who is part of group of non-union workers classified as “management excluded employees.”
Service claims the university wrongly forced a salary freeze on these employees in breach of their contract after the B.C. Finance Ministry announced in 2012 that public-sector management salaries would be frozen.
She claims the university failed to give as many as 134 members the annual salary increases they were due, which also negatively impacted their pensions, in the years 2013 through 2016.
Writing for the panel, Justice Susan Griffin allowed the appeal and certified the class proceeding, saying the contract is the common issue between the employees, although no court has made a decision on the main allegations in the case.
The trial heard the university claimed it was following the government’s direction, that it was entitled to change the terms and conditions of the contract and that those employees accepted the change.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2019.