Cabbie finally gets cheque for wages owed

·2 min read

Roughly 10 months after his former employer was ordered to pay him nearly $19,000, Lloyd Pedersen has finally received a cheque.

Pederson has been waiting since the end of August 2020, when a B.C. Employment Standards Branch delegate found Emerald Taxi owed him $18,967.11.

Some $13,482.78 was for the time he spent behind the wheel while earning less than minimum wage and a further $5,844.33 for vacation pay and additional pay for working statutory holidays and overtime as well as interest.

But Emerald twice appealed the decision to the B.C. Employment Standards Tribunal. Both appeals were denied, largely because Emerald failed to provide new evidence that would overturn the original decision.

The final appeal was turned down in May and in June, Pedersen was issued a cheque for $17,741.91 - an amount held in trust while the matter went through the process. He's fully expecting the remaining $955.62 to come in the mail once it's collected from Emerald.

While happy to get the money, Pedersen was critical of the time it took.

"I think it's ridiculous that it took so long to get a cheque...if a guy needed the money, it's way, way too long," he said.

Noting that he worked at Emerald for about three years, Pedersen was also critical of the fact that ESB regulations limited him to seeking just one year of wages owed.

A posting on the ESB website verifies Pederson's concern: "Issues will be reviewed from up to one year before the date your complaint is received."

Even prior to the original decision, it was a long process as Pedersen first filed his complaint in December 2019. (The process can take several months, the ESB also warns, particularly if resolving the complaint requires an investigation.)

But prior to May 2019 the process has been even more onerous as the employee first had to make use of a so-called "self-help kit," and effectively confront the employer about the issue. Legislation was passed at that time did away with that hurdle.

The ESB also found Emerald owed six other employees a combined $3,070.04, most of it for unauthorized deductions and foregone vacation pay. Emerald was hit with 10 fines of $500 each, adding up to $5,000, pushing the final sum up to $26,668.80.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen

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