OTTAWA — BlackBerry says it has met all of its obligations to employees who allege in a proposed class-action lawsuit that they lost severance entitlements after being transferred to another employer.
In a statement of claim on behalf of more than 300 former BlackBerry employees, an Ottawa law firm says BlackBerry (TSX:BB) has stated the transfer was "not a sale of business," meaning the employees will lose all of their years of service entitlements without any compensation.
The claim filed by Nelligan O'Brien Payne contends the smartphone software company structured the transfer to circumvent paying such entitlements.
The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.
BlackBerry says it reviewed the claims and is confident it complied with all of its obligations to its employees.
"Therefore, we believe the case lacks merit and we will defend against it vigorously," a company spokeswoman said in an email statement.
The class-action statement of claim, which has yet to be certified, says BlackBerry "knowingly misled" the employees transferred to Ford Motor Company of Canada and breached its duties of good faith and honesty.
"BlackBerry's actions, taken as a whole, amount to a termination of the BlackBerry employees' employment, entitling them to their statutory, common law and/or contractual entitlements on termination," it said.
The lawsuit is seeking more than $20 million in lost severance entitlements and bad faith and punitive damages.
By The Canadian Press