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Blackberry Businesses The Courts

BlackBerry Sued By Over 300 Former Employees (mobilesyrup.com) 73

An anonymous reader shares a report: BlackBerry is facing a class-action lawsuit from more than 300 former employees across Canada, according to a news release from law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP. The Waterloo, Ontario-based tech company is accused of denying employees their termination entitlements by transferring them to a partner company and, once they had accepted employment there, handed them resignation letters. The former employees were then allegedly given their final date of work. "BlackBerry's actions amount to a termination of the employees' employment," the law firm said. "This entitles these employees to statutory, common law, and/or contractual entitlements on termination."
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BlackBerry Sued By Over 300 Former Employees

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That should be constructive dismissal by Blackberry. If the stated facts are true Blackberry is going to lose some extra money here.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @11:02AM (#53886065) Homepage Journal

    Sharp Practice.

  • by gsslay ( 807818 )
    "once they had accepted employment there, handed them resignation letters"

    Isn't resignation something the employee hands to the employer, not the other way around? Am I missing something here, or is this just shoddy journalism?
    • by Munchr ( 786041 )
      It's the way the source press release was worded. From the press release of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, who commenced the class action, "Only after employees accepted employment with the business partner, BlackBerry informed the employees that they had resigned their employment. Blackberry provided resignation letters for the employees to sign and dictated their last date of employment."
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by flappinbooger ( 574405 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @11:21AM (#53886195) Homepage

      "once they had accepted employment there, handed them resignation letters"

      Isn't resignation something the employee hands to the employer, not the other way around? Am I missing something here, or is this just shoddy journalism?

      It's sort of a "you're fired, here's your resignation letter."

      It seems to be implied that there were termination benefits (Severance package) at both companies, Blackberry and also the 2nd company. By signing the resignation letters at the 2nd company they may have been bribed by some kind of severance package that is much less than what they would have got from BB.

      If they refused to sign the letter they got nothing. Thus the agreement to sign a resignation letter they didn't write.

      By transferring them to the second company it relieves BB from the obligations of the (assumed) much larger BB severance package.

      Dirty underhanded shenanigans either way. Thus the lawsuit that I presume BB will lose.

      • It boggles my mind to think that somewhere there is a upper management or C-suite executive that hatched and implemented this scheme and went home that day thinking 'job well done'. I wonder if his wife and kids are proud of him.

        Actually I think this type of behavior probably is done by groups of people (committees, boards, etc) where they can feel like it's OK - as long as nobody disagrees, everyone else is OK with it too, so it can't be THAT bad.
        • It boggles my mind to think that somewhere there is a upper management or C-suite executive that hatched and implemented this scheme and went home that day thinking 'job well done'. I wonder if his wife and kids are proud of him.

          Actually I think this type of behavior probably is done by groups of people (committees, boards, etc) where they can feel like it's OK - as long as nobody disagrees, everyone else is OK with it too, so it can't be THAT bad.

          a room full of group think yes men (and women) could spin something like this idea to make it sound less evil than it is. Sure.

          Or maybe they (BB) are hemorrhaging so much cash as they are pushed into the rubbish bin of electronics history that they were desperate to save this cash to keep the lights on. I don't know how bad off BB is but I know they are having a really bad time compared to their heyday.

          • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

            Blackberry reported $2.38 billion in cash reserves for fiscal 2016. They might be hemorrhaging money, but they could have afforded the severance for 300 employees.

            • Blackberry reported $2.38 billion in cash reserves for fiscal 2016. They might be hemorrhaging money, but they could have afforded the severance for 300 employees.

              so it was just dickishness in general? A rogue dick being dickish?

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          My first thought is that people at that level are used to nickel and diming employees or shafting them outright already, this is just an extremely efficient way to do 300 of them at once.

          My next, more charitable thought, is that maybe whoever approved it is probably personally desperate, too, and figures that it's him or someone else, might as well do whatever it takes to wring as much out of the sinking ship as possible. No sense falling on your sword for what will get done by others anyway.

      • BB will lose because a court will most certainly find that BB's obligation to those employees followed them to the subsidiary. That along with what appears to be clear motive to get them off of BB's books and then try a quick and dirty termination, not to mention the highly dubious nature of getting their signatures on a piece of paper, will almost certainly lead to extra damages being awarded.

        BB should just pay them a boatload of fucking money (BB may not have customers, but it still has a fuck ton of cash

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        By transferring them to the second company it relieves BB from the obligations of the (assumed) much larger BB severance package.

        Transferring an employee out to a different company is a severance. Unless their contract with BB specifying the severance terms explicitly provided for it, then the obligation to pay likely came into play as soon as the employee transferred to the other company without their consent.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      Its being described poorly.

      BB asked employees to be transferred to Ford, they accepted, BB claimed they resigned letter and denied severance. As best as I can understand these employees weren't terminated from Ford.

  • They should say they are sorry.
  • Hundreds and hundreds of words, and they can't even name the partner company. Are these people formerly employed by Blackberry still employed by the partner company? If the partner company quickly went belly up or fired them, they've got a legitimate beef. If they're still employed but looking for a lump sum payment because they were forced to change companies, then they're trying to get unearned cash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wrong: Work laws ensure guarantees and benefits for employees given their time on the company, such as how much you get in a severance package, how many days of vacations and so on. Since the "transfer" is made by making them sign a RESIGNATION it makes them thus resign to their law-granted benefits from their years in Blackberry. This means, for example, that if they were then fired from the partner company a few months later their severance package would be near naught, compared to the package they would

  • The courts in Ontario will hand them their asses.

    They are playing fast and loose to deprive people of the severance compensation they are entitled to under Ontario Law.

  • Canadian law differs a bit from US but the fact this was obviously an attempt to bypass employee protection laws there are civil and criminal penalties here. Technically jail time but I doubt that will happen.

    Canadian fines are also really different from the US. This will be a major blackeye publically as well as financially to Blackberry.

  • Ford Motor Company of Canada - http://www.theglobeandmail.com... [theglobeandmail.com]
  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Friday February 17, 2017 @05:58PM (#53889107) Journal

    Article is intentionally misleading. It's not outright false, but it's written so that a casual reader will think this happened:
    Blackberry transfers employees to sham company.
    Sham company (Blackberry) fires workers.

    What happened is that
    Blackberry transfers employees to Ford motor company of Canada.
    Blackberry informs employees (after arranging the transfer) that the years of service do not transfer over, and they don't get any severance.

    Still seems scummy, but not the same level of scummy.

    • Blackberry transfers employees to sham company.
      Sham company (Blackberry) fires workers.

      You're repeating the summary with different words. Tomato, Blackberry is trying to cheat their way out of paying severance benefits, tomahtoe, Blackberry is trying to cheat their way out of paying severance benefits.

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