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In the Courts: B.C. company shortchanged worker $41K, tribunal finds

Western Glass Inc. reportedly underpaid regular wages and failed to pay overtime or vacation and holiday pay
The B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

A Langley glass manufacturer and retailer has been ordered to pay a former employee more than $41,000 for drastically underpaying the employee for close to three years.

The employee, who is unnamed in a recent B.C. Employment Standards Tribunal decision, began work as a glass cutter at Western Glass Inc. in February 2018 and eventually came to work as a glazier.

He worked there until November 2020.

The tribunal decision backed up a November 2022 decision by the director of employment standards, which found the company owed the worker $41,062. The director also imposed four $500 administrative penalties totalling $2,000.

The funds owed to the employee were a result of a finding that Western Glass failed to pay regular and overtime wages, as well as statutory holiday and vacation pay, and pay raises over time.

The employee filed a complaint with the director of employment standards in April 2021, alleging his employment agreement with Western Glass pinned his wage at $22.50 an hour, but that the business only paid him $16 an hour.

Western Glass also allegedly required the employee to open up a bank account and give the business the debit card and pin number.

To pay the employee, Western Glass allegedly withdrew money from that bank account and gave it to the employee at the $16-an-hour rate, which the employee then deposited into his personal bank account.

Western Glass denied it knew of the bank account.

The employee alleged he was fired for asking for copies of timesheets and for asking to be paid at the agreed-upon rate. The employee was allegedly offered $2,700 if he signed a release, which he refused.

Western Glass provided the employment standards branch five records of infractions by the employee.

The alleged infractions included getting into a “screaming match” and acting “violently” with a customer, missing a day without notice to the employer, refusing to cut a piece of glass and failing to clean up his workspace.

Only the notice of the missed day was signed by the employee, according to the decision, and the employee denied the rest.

The employee and Western Glass both produced separate timesheets with disparate amounts of hours worked, but the adjudicator found the employee’s timesheets to be more reliable.

While Western Glass’s version of the timesheets were “inconsistent,” the adjudicator said the employee’s timesheets “appear[ed] authentic and unaltered.”

The employee also provided records of text messages to back up his claims, and while Western Glass denied ever communicating with him by text, the adjudicator believed they were authentic, saying due to the “extreme detail and extensive un-work-related conversations.”

In all, the adjudicator found the employee was owed $12,784 in regular wages, $19,365 in overtime wages and close to $4,800 in vacation and holiday pay.

Western Glass appealed the decision on the final day it was allowed to file an appeal and sought an extension to provide further materials – materials it never provided, according to the decision.

Its appeal cited all grounds available, including that the director erred in law and that new evidence had come to light.

The tribunal found Western Glass’s appeal met criteria to be thrown out without even seeking input from the director of employment standards or from the employee.