B.C. warns employers about illegal deductions

Warning comes after gas station attendant killed trying to stop a "gas-and-dash" attempt

The British Columbia government is reminding employers that it’s illegal to hold workers financially responsible for customers who don’t pay for goods or services.

The warning comes in the wake of the death of a gas station attendant. Grant De Patie, an employee at an Esso station in Maple Ridge, B.C., was killed on March 8 after trying to stop a driver who took off without paying for $12.30 in gas.

De Patie was dragged more than seven kilometres by the car. A 16-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder in the case.

Section 21(1) of B.C.’s Employment Standards Act states that an employer “must not, directly or indirectly, withhold, deduct or require payment of all or part of an employee’s wages for any purpose” except as required by law for things such as income tax, pension contributions or employment insurance.

Section 21(2) clearly states that an employer “must not require an employee to pay any of the employer’s business costs except as permitted by the regulations.”

Graham Currie, a spokesman for the province’s Ministry of Skills Development and Labour, told the Canadian Press that an employer can’t bill an employee for the cost of doing business, “like shoplifting, dine-and-dash, gas-and-dash and equipment damage.”

Penalties range from $500 for a first offence to $10,000 if the employer continues to unlawfully deduct wages.

Chett Crellin, the grandfather of the gas station worker, told CP that one of De Patie’s former employers deducted money from a “gas-and-dash” and he was fired for challenging the deduction.

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