Winnipeg marketing company accused of intimidating workers
Video shows team leader berating those who complained to provincial authorities
A company being investigated by Manitoba’s employment standards branch is facing new allegations that a manager berated its employees after they complained to authorities about their working conditions.
Winnipeg’s Momentum Marketing is under fire for fundraising on behalf of charities without their permission, making staff work long hours and failing to pay at least minimum wage.
- Company raises money for charities without permission
- Marketing company faces complaints over treatment of workers
"It's been brought to our attention that there’s some nasty s--t going on around this office," says Larry Beauchamp, a team leader, in a video obtained by CBC.
Beauchamp was recorded by a former employee during a staff meeting in December 2014 after several employees complained to the employment standards branch.
“So, this crap about the f--king labour board? I want this gone, dead, finished... We are not taking this lightly," he said.
"We have had enough."
Andy Hall, 33, sold toys for Momentum during the Christmas season and he told CBC he remembers that meeting very well.
"It was probably one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever been involved with," Hall said.
"It was really, really weird."
Momentum Marketing’s lawyer, Michael Gerstein, sent Hall and two other complainants a letter earlier this year after they quit their jobs with the marketing firm.
Hall’s letter states he "engaged in a variety of unlawful activities," including removing signed contracts from the office.
"Anything I took from the office had my signature on it, alone," Hall said.
The letter also said Hall broke his confidentiality agreement, which prohibits him from disseminating information about the company.
"I laughed," Hall said.
"There was a little bit of me that was panicking, really. If anyone is trying to take money from me, it’s like taking blood from a stone right now."
The CBC's calls to Gerstein have not been returned, and Manitoba Labour and Immigration declined an interview but sent a statement.
"If we were made aware of an employer berating an employee for filing a complaint with employment standards, this matter would be referred to the Manitoba Labour Board as a possible unfair labour practice," the email said in part.
"That is completely inappropriate.... A complete violation of the employment standards code," Mark Toews, a Winnipeg labour lawyer, said after he saw the video.
Toews said it's against the law to threaten an employee who chooses to submit a complaint to the labour board.
"It’s illegal to threaten a person’s job for co-operating or going to the labour board or to employment standards. That’s illegal," he said. "That’s an offence."
Brandon Farr, owner of Momentum Marketing, did not return the CBC's call for comment.
Larry Beauchamp, the team leader in the video, declined to comment. He said he is currently receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer.
Toews said if the company is found to have violated employment standards, the outcome would likely be a fine.
"They have the authority to impose a fine in these kinds of situations up to a maximum of $25,000," he said.