Indo-Canadian owners of two Subway franchises are facing some shocking allegations regarding not paying workers their full wages and benefits under the Labour Code as well as tampering with food, which has spurred calls for immediate investigations. Owner Baljit Sidhu told Global News she recently terminated an employee with two weeks’ pay and doesn’t feel she’s done anything wrong.
ALDERGROVE – Indo-Canadian owners of two Subway franchises are facing some shocking allegations regarding not paying workers their full wages and benefits under the Labour Code as well as tampering with food, which has spurred calls for immediate investigations.
Complaints of not being paid properly for overtime and statutory holidays worked and of bullying by the boss are on a long list of allegations, reported Global News.
“You dumb, you brainless, you this, you that… she uses abusive language in front of everyone,” a former employee told Global News of the types of comments made by her boss.
There are also accusations of mishandled food. The employees say they’re told to tamper with best before dates to bring food costs down, including expired chicken.
They also allege they’re ordered to hide expired food products in their personal vehicles while restaurant inspections are being conducted.
Global News broke the story and spoke to six current and former employees and agreed to conceal their identities. Two of them say they were so fed up, they quit.
“I feel stressed and depressed like I go to my doctor and sometimes I cry,” a former employee said.
Current and former staff showed Global News pay stubs, each for two-week time periods, which show overtime and statutory holidays worked were paid at the minimum wage rate instead of time-and-a-half.
“She keeps saying… I don’t have to keep you, I can fire you any day,” the former employee said of the boss’s alleged threats to terminate employees.
“But nobody she speaks, because everybody needs the job.”
One woman who did speak up says she was later fired without reason, raising questions about whether there was discrimination against Indo-Canadians, some of whom recently arrived to Canada and may not know their rights.
“White people she’s paying everything like stat pay, holidays, overtime, everything,” a current employee alleges.
The owner in question, Baljit Sidhu, originally agreed to meet with Global News to talk about the allegations, saying she recently terminated an employee with two weeks’ pay and doesn’t feel she’s done anything wrong.
Sidhu later cancelled the scheduled meeting, without reason, referring the news channel to Subway Corporate.
In a statement, Subway Canada said it’s concerned by the allegations and is investigating them.
The BC Federation of Labour called the allegations worrying, but not shocking, adding it will be calling on the province’s Employment Standards Branch to immediately investigate this case.
“This stuff, unfortunately, happens all the time and isn’t often paid attention to and because these are folks who really don’t have a voice,” BC Federation of Labour secretary treasurer Aaron Ekman said.
Labour Minister Harry Bains said, in a statement, he is very concerned by the allegations.
“I have devoted the better half of my adult life and career to ensure that employment standards are being evenly and effectively enforced; that work has begun to ensure workers have better access to information on what their rights are,” Bains said.
Bains said there’s a need for better enforcement measures like workplace audits, investigations and penalties.
He said the advice to any non-unionized worker is to go to the Employment Standards Branch website or to call at 1-800-663-3316, or go to one of their head office locations and file a formal complaint.
WorkSafeBC also offers a toll free line (1-888-621-7233) to call and report incidents of bullying and harassment.
Courtesy Global News