Class Action Filed Against BlackBerry

A class action lawsuit is being filed against BlackBerry on behalf of former employees.

Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP is in the process of filing a class action claim against BlackBerry on behalf of 300 employees. The law firm claims that BlackBerry misled their employees. How did they do this? By securing them positions at a business partner.

Yes, I find it strange myself.

We understand that BlackBerry released a number of employees over the last couple of years. This is something no one can be happy with. Unfortunately, it was a necessary action during the massive turnaround which BlackBerry was going through. In this case, BlackBerry was able to offer these employees jobs at a business partner. According to this complaint, if these employees accepted this position, they were presented with a resignation letter.

Now, I must admit this makes sense to me. Of course, I am not Canadian, and I fully understand laws are different north and south of the border between the US and Canada, but this seems like a very positive action from BlackBerry. As I read this complaint, it reads to me that BlackBerry was able to find redundant employees positions at another job. I would take that as a much more positive situation than being without a job. Employees resigning their position to start a new one seems logical to me. However, the law firm claims there is a breach of good faith.

The law firm claims that BlackBerry’s actions “amount to a termination”. If terminated, they claim that these employees are entitled to certain lawful entitlements. They claim that BlackBerry misled these employees in order to avoid paying these entitlements.

What do you think? If BlackBerry was able to find employment for these employees, and these employees accepted these positions, is it wrong that BlackBerry ask these employees to resign? Or would you consider this reasonable?



BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • Roy shpitalnik

    depend what the law says ? if BlackBerry had to fire them instead of find them new jobs, maybe they had to pay them some Compensation and earn from other Social conditions.

    • BlueTroll

      I’m not an labour lawyer, so I could very well be wrong on this, however, depending on the time frame given the employees, they may have been entitled to termination benefits even if BlackBerry found them a job. However, it certainly seems ungracious that they would come back to bite the hand that helped them out. Let’s face it, I’m not sure how healthy the employment situation is down in Waterloo, but if I had the choice of a couple weeks severance or a good job to move to, I’d take the good job, forego the severance and be appreciative. Obviously it’s a case that if you look long and hard, you’ll find a lawyer to take on any case.

      Now in other cases, if enough notice is given that the job is terminating, no severance is due. It may also be that if employment has been provided, no severance is owed.

      • raider2008

        Image result for severance pay ontario
        The Employment Standards Act (ESA) provides the minimum standards for termination pay and severance – in general, one week of severance pay for each year of employment. However, almost all non-union employees are entitled to significantly more severance pay than the minimum ESA requirement.

      • raider2008

        Written Notice of Termination and Termination Pay

        Under the ESA:

        an employer can terminate the employment of an employee who has been employed continuously for three months or more if the employer has given the employee proper written notice of termination and the notice period has expired;
        an employer can terminate the employment of an employee without written notice or with less notice than is required if the employer pays termination pay to the employee.

  • Sipo Kapumba

    I don’t think the employees were against accepting the new jobs, they just wanted BlackBerry to pay them their full entitlements from their BlackBerry jobs and not force them into signing a resignation letter and risking losing some of those entitlements. They simply wanted to have it both ways, those who would have accepted the offer. They have a point.

  • Jeremy

    I think those 300 douchebags and their ambulance chasing mouthpieces should lose everything

  • WiseEyes

    It depends on the law & on BlackBerry’s plans. Who knows how well the partner looks out for those former employees, & who knows if BlackBerry is arranging to acquire that partner & thereby restore those entitlements? This sounds interesting, but I think that BlackBerry showed go faith by realigning them as opposed to laying them off. It would appear to be a smart move on BlackBerry’s part.

  • Fahed Al Derbi

    In reality they are terminated employees even if they have signed resignation letter thereby I think they are entitled for termination entitlements

    • Jeremy

      Your kind of thinking enables the parasites that bankrupt excellent employers and ruin countries….. Just look at Greece, nobody there actually wants to work either.

  • Ricardo T.O

    So you are about to get let go but instead company offers you a position at another company. So if you take that position you ties with your former employer are cut. Any changes going forward are with your current employer. BlackBerry tried instead of termination without future job resorted to reallocation to new job!

  • anthogag

    Canadian law (excluding Quebec – their legal system is like France) is precedence based like the US.

    Lawyers probably found a previous case describing this situation where the class-action group won.

    On the surface it looks like BlackBerry arranged a deal to get around paying severance and early retirement packages. Did this “business partner” eventually lay-off most of these people?