A former RBC Royal Bank employee has received the court’s permission to represent 20 other former employees who are seeking outstanding entitlements owed to them by the bank when they joined an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP I) and a staff retirement bonus plan (ESPO II).
Justice Ricky Rahim gave permission to Vesta Dillon to represent her former co-workers, having found that there was a possibility that she and the others had an underlying connection, as they were all former employees who resigned from the bank between 1999 and 2009.
He also added that the fact that the court may find ultimately that the former employees had different entitlements did not make the representative proceedings inappropriate.
The former employees claim they are beneficiaries entitled under the various trusts and to retirement benefits which were not paid to them. They are claiming various sums which could potentially run into the hundreds of millions.
In opposition to Dillon’s application, the bank has argued that each of the workers stood in different factual and legal positions with the bank.
It said when Dillon resigned, she elected to receive a payment for the value of the units in the retirement fund while she was in the fund. Some of the others elected to receive similar payments in the same fund computed on the number of units allocated to them.
The bank argued that upon receipt of the payments, they ceased to be members of the plan and gave up any further rights to benefits.
Dillon’s claim is against RBC Financial (Caribbean) Ltd and RBC Royal Bank (TT) Ltd.
Dillon further contended that when she and those whom she represents resigned, from 1999-2009, the bank failed to pay the full entitlement due to them at the date of resignation.
According to her, she and those she represents have all consistently maintained that their outstanding entitlements remained in the ESOP II plan since the date of their resignations and have been augmented by the bank with the stock split from June 1999, the rights issues in 1994 and 1998, the bonus issue in 1996 in conjunction with the special conversion of ESOP units to RBTT shares in June or July, 2004 and the final conversion of RBTT shares to RBC shares in June or July 2008.
Dillon was represented by attorneys Terrence Bharath and Andre Le Blanc. Alvin Fitzpatrick, SC, Adrian Byrne and Jason Mootoo represented RBC.