Too young for the job (Editorial)

Canada needs guidelines to protect young workers and those who work the late shift
By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/13/2006

Brigitte Serre was murdered at work in the early hours of Jan. 25. She was only 17 years old when she was stabbed to death while working her first midnight shift alone at a Shell gas bar and convenience store in Montreal.

There was a surveillance camera and a locked night-payment wicket, and Shell was abiding by Quebec law regarding legal employment age. But someone talked Brigitte into opening the door and she paid with her life. Police immediately began hunting for a former employee and a group of others.

If Brigitte lived in Alberta she would never have been allowed to work that shift. Provinces have been slowly, and individually, changing laws about late-shift work in retail and food outlets. Manitoba and New Brunswick now require employers to have at least two employees working a late shift.