Worker who quit after less than two days has claim for unpaid wages, vacation pay tossed by small claims court

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A small claims court in British Columbia has dismissed a worker’s claim for unpaid wages and vacation pay after he quit his job after less than two days.

DP, a former employee of Buy Rite Office Furnishings, was seeking an award close to $4,200. The worker, who represented himself, argued that the company wrongfully terminated his employment without paying for the three weeks’ notice period he provided upon resignation.

DP said he gave Buy Rite three weeks’ notice as required under the contract — but the company dismissed him immediately without paying for the notice period.

The $4,200 DP sought represented three weeks’ pay including 4% vacation pay.

Contrarily, Buy Rite, represented by its owner, maintained that since DP was still within his probationary period and had worked only 1.5 days, the notice period stipulated in the employment contract was not applicable.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), responsible for adjudicating small claims as per the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, emphasized its mandate to resolve disputes accessibly, quickly, and fairly. In this case, the Tribunal decided that an oral hearing was unnecessary, relying instead on written submissions and documentary evidence.

Central to this dispute was whether DP, who resigned from his position as operations manager just days after starting, was entitled to the notice period compensation as per his employment contract.

The Tribunal found that clause 7 of the contract, which required three weeks’ notice from DP, was applicable even during his probationary period. However, the Tribunal sided with Buy Rite’s interpretation of the contract, which referenced the Employment Standards Act (ESA). This reference implied that the contract incorporated the ESA’s terms, which do not require compensation for employees terminated within three months of employment.

As such, the Tribunal determined that Buy Rite was justified in not paying DP for the notice period, as his employment duration did not meet the three-month threshold stipulated in the ESA.

Additionally, the Tribunal ruled that DP was not entitled to vacation pay, as his employment did not surpass the five-calendar-day requirement set by the ESA and the company’s policies.

The CRT dismissed DP’s claims in their entirety, with no orders for reimbursement of CRT fees or dispute-related expenses, as none were claimed or paid by either party.

For more information, see Parker v. Buy Rite Office Furnishings Ltd., 2023 BCCRT 1057 (CanLII)

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