BlackBerry sued by employees

The law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP says BlackBerry employees in Ontario were given resignation letters and denied their entitlements for what amounted to a "termination."

Class action includes 300 employees across Canada who were transferred

Former BlackBerry employees have launched a class action lawsuit against the company alleging they were denied their termination benefits. (The Associated Press)

A class action lawsuit against BlackBerry alleges the Canadian smartphone software company denied employees their termination entitlements by transferring them to the Ford Motor Company of Canada and then giving them resignation letters.

Law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP announced the lawsuit in a news release Thursday.

According to the release, the class action lawsuit covers more than 300 current and former employees who have been working in Ontario and across Canada.

The notice of claim said BlackBerry arranged to transfer those employees to Ford Canada in the fall of 2016, then informed them that they had resigned once they accepted employment with the company.

The employees were given resignation letters and stipulated their last date of employment, the suit said. 

"BlackBerry's actions amount to a termination of the employees employment," the statement said. "This entitles these employees to statutory, common law and/or contractual entitlements on termination."

Plaintiffs seeking $20M

The notice of claim said BlackBerry has structured the transfer of employees to avoid paying termination entitlements and is refusing to pay them.

The employees have also lost their accumulated years of service with the company.

The plaintiffs in the class action are seeking $20,000,000 in damages or a resolution consistent with termination entitlements.

In an emailed statement, a BlackBerry spokesperson wrote: "We have reviewed the allegations in the lawsuit, and are confident we complied with all our obligations to our employees. Therefore, we believe the case lacks merit and we will defend against it vigorously."

None of the allegations has been proven in court.