Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Fortune Computers Inc., a computer store, pleaded guilty and was fined $2,500 for failing to comply with an Order for Compensation.
The Ministry of Labour received a claim from a former employee of Fortune Computers Inc. alleging a reprisal after exercising a right under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). An employment standards officer investigated the claim and determined that the employer had committed a reprisal and issued an Order for Compensation in the total amount of $5,816.14. The company did not comply with the order.
The defendant pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an Order for Compensation. Prior to pleading guilty, the defendant paid the outstanding order in full.
Justice of the Peace Gordon Chaput fined the company $2,500 in Toronto court on September 22, 2016.
In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
A person who contravenes the ESA or its regulations, or fails to comply with an order under the act, is guilty of an offence. An individual convicted under the ESA may be fined up to $50,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both. A corporation can be fined up to $100,000 for a first conviction, $250,000 for a second conviction and $500,000 for a third or more convictions.
The law(s) in contravention:
Fortune Computers Inc. was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) section 104, subsection (1) which states,
“If an employment standards officer finds a contravention of any of the following Parts with respect to an employee, the officer may order that the employee be compensated for any loss he or she incurred as a result of the contravention or that he or she be reinstated or that he or she be both compensated and reinstated:
- Part XIV (Leaves of Absence).
- Part XVI (Lie Detectors).
- Part XVII (Retail Business Establishments).
- Part XVIII (Reprisal).”
Fortune Computers Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the ESA, section 132 which states,
“A person who contravenes this Act or the regulations or fails to comply with an order, direction or other requirement under this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,
(a) if the person is an individual, to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months or to both;
(b) subject to clause (c), if the person is a corporation, to a fine of not more than $100,000; and
(c) if the person is a corporation that has previously been convicted of an offence under this Act or a predecessor to it,
(i) if the person has one previous conviction, to a fine of not more than $250,000, and
(ii) if the person has more than one previous conviction, to a fine of not more than $500,000.”
What else is there to say. Even under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) there is a section covering “Fear of Reprisals” and that anyone can be protected when they need it when exercising their rights under the law. The problem is that most do not know the extent of their rights and are easily pushed around.
I wonder if Fortune Computers thought that they would not be fined if the first order was finally obeyed. Too little, too late!
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Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.