Computer store worker awarded back pay, employer awarded rent money

When the facts of a case aren’t clear, and there is no solid evidence, courts sometimes will have to make a best guess to resolve a dispute

When the facts of a case aren’t clear, and there is no solid evidence, courts sometimes will have to make a best guess to resolve a dispute. That’s exactly what happened in the case of a disgruntled computer store worker.

Keyvan Javadi moved from Toronto to London, Ont., in the fall of 2002 to take a position with Microkool Computers. He said he was paid from Dec. 1, 2002, to Jan. 26, 2003, but was underpaid from Sept. 17 to Dec. 1 and not paid at all from Jan. 27 until he left the company in March.

He said his hourly wage was supposed to be $15 but he was only paid $7 and was therefore owed the balance. He would not have left a job in Toronto that paid $9.50 per hour to move to London for a lower rate of pay, he said.

Mehdi Shahabi, a corporate officer of the company, said Javadi hadn’t worked all the hours he was claiming; that he had given Javadi a $2,000 personal loan; and Javadi owed him rent for a three-bedroom apartment above the store where he lived for almost six months.

On the question of the hourly rate, the court ruled in favour of the company. It was clear Javadi sought employment at Microkool so he could get Canadian experience in the computer field. The paycheques Javadi received were at $7 per hour, and that’s what other employees were earning, the court said.

But the court ruled in Javadi’s favour when it found the $2,000 given him was job-related, an advance on wages owed him for full-time work at Microkool and not a personal loan.

The working environment deteriorated quickly in late January. A supervisor complained about the quality of Javadi’s work and there were issues about how many hours Javadi spent on the job and what wages he was owed. These frictions culminated in the police being called in the middle of the night to remove Javadi from the apartment.

Javadi’s damages were assessed at $3,969. It awarded an offset of $1,350 for Javadi’s having used the apartment. Javadi had lived in Shahabi’s home until he offered him the apartment. There was no mention of rent because Javadi had no money, but once he was receiving a regular income the gift of the apartment ceased, the court said.

The court decided the free rent period ended on Nov. 30 and charged Javadi $450 per month for three-and-a-half months’ occupancy.

For more information see:

•Javadi v. 1467271 Ontario Inc., 2005 CarswellOnt 3212 (Ont. S.C.J.)

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