Sloppy records prove costly

From August to December 2000, Erin MacAulay worked at the Fiddlehead Pub in Fredericton, N.B. When she left her employment, Ms. MacAulay filed a complaint with the office of employment standards for unpaid wages.

Lori Baker investigated the complaint and concluded that wages and vacation pay totalling $1,540.90 were due to Ms. MacAulay. On April 5, 2001, the director of employment standards ordered Fiddlehead Pub Ltd. to pay Ms. MacAulay the sum representing wages and vacation pay.

At the request of Fiddlehead Pub, the matter was referred to the labour and employment board on May 14, 2001. A hearing was held on June 4, 2001. Evidence was heard from Ms. MacAulay, Ms. Baker and Stephen Hemming on behalf of the employer.

During the course of the investigation, Ms. Baker reviewed the payroll records of Fiddlehead Pub in order to compose a chart of Ms. MacAulay’s hours of unpaid work. Based on her experience of reviewing employer payroll records, which she is required to do on a regular basis, it was Ms. Baker’s opinion that the payroll records were inadequate and did not meet minimum standards set out in the employment standards act.

Ms. MacAulay testified as to the procedure for recording her hours. Each employee was required to sign in and out on a sheet based on an honour system. Then the employer initialled the sheet. These were the same sheets Ms. Baker reviewed to calculate amounts owing. The employer agreed that the payroll records were scant and the payment of wages haphazard. The business was suffering and the employees were not regularly paid wages owing. Often they were paid from cash taken in that day, after which the employee would initial the sheet to indicate payment. Ms. MacAulay claimed she was not paid for the shifts where no initial was placed beside her check-out time.

The pub disputed the amount owing, stating that it had paid Ms. MacAulay $600 of the amount owed, although there were no records to verify payment.

The board held that the employer had failed to maintain proper payroll records and had not paid Ms. MacAulay for all the hours she worked and the vacation pay due to her. The director’s order was therefore affirmed.

For more information:

Fiddlehead Pub Ltd. v. MacAulay, New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board, Docket No. ES-008-01, July 4/01.

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