BC Employment Law: Seek Advice From An Labour Lawyer If You Haven’t Been Paid By Your Employer

If you have not been paid wages by your employer, you may be trying to decide whether to sue or, instead, to file a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch under the Employment Standards Act. Before you decide which route to take, you may wish to get advice from an employment or labor lawyer. This is especially important after a recent Small Claims Court decision.

The Small Claims Court recently considered the case of an employee who had not been paid wages by his employer. At Small Claims, this employee did not have a lawyer - he represented himself. I am disappointed to tell you that the employer succeeded in having the case dismissed.

The employer drew the Court's attention to Section 82 of the Employment Standards Act. This section requires the employee to obtain the consent of the Director of Employment Standards to take the employer to Court if the dispute has already been ruled on by the Employment Standard's Branch. In this case, the employee had already taken the dispute to the Employment Standards Branch. The employee was successful but could only get an order for six months worth of back wages because the Employment Standards Act limits claims for unpaid wages to a six-month maximum.

In this case, the employee was owed back wages beyond six months.

After his success at the Employment Standards Branch, the employee sued in Small Claims Court for the back wages not covered by the six month limit.

An Employment Judge in Vancouver, BCThe employee did not get permission from the Director of the Employment Standards Branch. The Small Claims Court Judges accepted the employer's argument that the case must therefore be dismissed.

Hindsight is 20:20. but in this case, the employee would have been better off just suing in Small Claims Court for the entire claim of unpaid wages.

If you have not been paid by your employer, you may wish to consider seeking the advice of an employment/labor lawyer before deciding what to do. Call Vancouver wrongful dismissal lawyer Tim Louis today at (604) 732-7678.