A contractor who exploited three stucco plasterers has been ordered to pay a total of $93,148.10 in owed wages and penalties. (Ksenia Chernaya - Pexels)

Kelowna contractor ordered to pay over $93k in owed wages, penalties

Everlasting Stucco hired three stucco plasterers who allege they were never paid their wages

A Kelowna contractor who was found to have exploited foreign workers has lost the appeal to overturn the ruling.

Everlasting Stucco and Stone Ltd. argued there were errors in the B.C. Employment Standards Tribunal’s ruling that ordered the company to pay a total of $93,148.10, which include owed employee wages and penalties.

In 2018, Everlasting Stucco owner Harkanwaldeep Singh hired three individuals under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. Fateh Singh, Amarjeet Singh and Rajesh Kumar were all hired as stucco plasterers with a term of 24 months.

According to the Tribunal, Everlasting Stucco stated there were two entities involved in employing the three workers, the sole proprietor Harkanwaldeep Singh and the company itself. Singh allegedly dismissed the three employees, who were then were re-hired by the company Everlasting Stucco. Under the new hire, the three employees’ wages were reduced by $10 an hour, with no overtime and no statutory holiday pay.

Everlasting Stucco said the Tribunal did not make the distinction between these “two entities”, which was why it launched the appeal.

The company also claimed the employees agreed to the changes to their pay, but the trio said otherwise.

“The complainants said they never agreed with the changes but did not complain for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status,” according to the Tribunal’s report. The Tribunal also rejected Everlasting Stucco’s claim that there were two entities involved in employing the three individuals.

“The (Tribunal) found there was one continuous period of employment for the complainants and… Everlasting Stucco was the employer of record during the wage recovery period.”

The three were let go from their jobs on June 13, 2019, after which they filed complaints alleging Everlasting Stucco failed to pay them for all hours they worked, overtime, annual vacation and statutory holiday pay.

The company has now been ordered to pay $90,648.10 in owed wages and a penalty of $2,500.

“There is simply no factual or legal basis for this ground of appeal, it has no merit and it is dismissed.”

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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