Home Constructive Dismissal B.C. worker, upset over loss of company vehicle for commuting, hits dead end in his ESA appeal

B.C. worker, upset over loss of company vehicle for commuting, hits dead end in his ESA appeal

by HR Law Canada

A worker in British Columbia who issued an ultimatum to his employer after he lost the use of a company vehicle for commuting purposes, and claimed constructive dismissal, is not entitled to compensation under the Employment Standards Act, a tribunal has ruled.

The initial complaint by the worker, J.G., alleged that his former employer, Yamato Trading Co. Ltd., had failed to pay him wages, overtime, and compensation for length of service as required by the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

J.G.’s employment with Yamato Trading Co. Ltd. spanned from Sept. 1, 2004, until June 2022. The dispute began when J.G., a driver and warehouse helper, issued the ultimatum to his employer. When the employer did not agree to all his requests, J.G. did not return to work and requested a Record of Employment (ROE).

His formal complaint to the Employment Standards branch was lodged on July 8, 2022, claiming several breaches of the ESA, including unpaid wages and benefits estimated at $8,448, primarily due to the cessation of a company vehicle for commuting in 2020.

But that argument was rejected. It was held that J.G. quit and did not qualify for compensation for length of service under the Employment Standards Act

“The Determination held the loss of the company vehicle for commuting purposes in 2020 did not, in all the circumstances, amount to a deemed termination pursuant to section 66 of the ESA,” the ruling stated.

J.G.’s appeal to the Employment Standards Tribunal centered on allegations of a failure to observe principles of natural justice in the initial determination and the presentation of new evidence suggesting the employer’s intention to replace him with lower-cost employees.

However, the Tribunal, after reviewing the appeal and the record, found no basis for these arguments. It highlighted that the appeal process is not a venue for rearguing facts and submissions already presented.

“I find there is no merit in this ground of appeal, and it is dismissed,” stated the Tribunal, addressing the alleged failure to observe natural justice. Regarding the new evidence, the Tribunal noted, “The Appellant’s submissions do not meet the requirements for new evidence.”

The Tribunal also considered whether there was an error of law in the original determination but found that the conclusions reached were supported by evidence and the law.

“Although the Appellant may not agree with the Determination, I find there was evidence the Delegate could rely on to make findings of fact and conclude that the use of the company vehicle for commuting purposes was not compensable wages under the ESA,” the Tribunal said.

“I find the conclusions in the Determination were supported by evidence and the law and it is not open to this Tribunal to rehear the case,” the Tribunal stated.

The appeal was dismissed and the original determination was confirmed.

For more information, see Jia Ning Gan (Re), 2024 BCEST 22 (CanLII).

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