British Columbia

Former owner of Port Moody pub owes $12K to ex-employees, province finds

The former owner of a shuttered Port Moody bar owes ex-employees almost $12,000 in back pay, a branch of the provincial government has found.

Ex-boss David James refuses to comment on Employment Standards Branch assessment

The former owner of Brew Street Pub in Port Moody owes his ex-employees almost $12,000 in wages and other pay. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The former owner of a shuttered Port Moody bar owes ex-employees almost $12,000 in back pay, a branch of the provincial government has found.

CBC News reported allegations in May by former staff of the Brew Street Craft and Kitchen that owner David James shorted them on wages, tips and even personal loans racked up during their time working at the suburban watering hole.

Last week, the province's Employment Standards Branch ruled James owes the seven employees $11,973.98.

"My preliminary assessment is that the complainants have not been paid regular wages, statutory holiday pay, vacation pay and compensation for length of service in accordance with the [Employment Standards] Act," wrote branch delegate Glen MacInnes, in a preliminary assessment obtained by CBC News.

Brew Street Pub closed down in January. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Brew Street, MacInnes added, did not provide any evidence to refute the employees' claims.

One of the employees said he is encouraged by the assessment, adding the case should be a warning to young workers to stand up for their rights.

'Stand up for yourself'

Former kitchen worker Jaden Rudland, 19, said he's "pissed" about the whole situation but just wants to get the $666 the branch says he is entitled to.

He was told by the branch Thursday afternoon the cash was ready for him.

"I'm struggling right now," Rudland said. "I'm just out of school. I got bills to pay."

Jaden Rudland says he's optimistic the Employment Standards Branch assessment means he will get his money. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Rudland said he never expected that James would stiff him after spending three years working for him.

He says he even considered him a friend until his former boss cut off contact with him the day after he quit.

"The lessons I've learned would definitely be to stand up for yourself as an employee … especially as a new employee," Rudland said in an interview.

"Watch out ... it's not necessarily going to happen to you, but, you know, it does happen."

Another ex-employee, Sydney Iverson, has accepted a payment from James in the form of a bank draft worth over $3,600.

'It cost me my apartment'

Carver Lloyd, 28, wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. A job at Brew Street, he hoped, could be a good step.

Lloyd worked there for three months starting in November 2018. His first few paycheques were fine but then one bounced in December.

"It cost me my apartment as I couldn't pay rent," Lloyd said. "It cost mass amounts of debt because of racked-up credit cards and I took loans out just to try and make ends meet." 

Carver Lloyd has filed a claim with the Employment Standards Branch separate from the $12,000 assessment given for seven other ex-employees of Brew Street. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

His old boss made promises, Lloyd said, but never paid him all his earnings.

Lloyd has filed a $1,300 claim with the Employment Standards Branch.

James refuses to comment

The Employment Standards Branch previously said it investigated the situation, after receiving the complaints from former workers.

Under Ministry of Labour legislation, officers and directors of companies can be personally liable to pay up to two months wages to former employees.

CBC News reached out to James and arranged an interview, however, James cancelled the appointment and did not reschedule by deadline.

James is also listed as the owner of the Craft and Cork Kitchen in Coquitlam.

James has been given until June 11 to pay back the employees. The branch would not say if he had done so by the end of Tuesday, saying only the investigation remains open.

The branch, in its preliminary assessment, said a written decision with monetary penalties would be issued if the employees weren't paid.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story inaccurately listed David James as the owner of Woodford James Group Holding. In fact, according to the Employment Standards Branch, he ceased being a director of that company in 2015.
    Jun 13, 2019 12:41 PM PT

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