Leon's Furniture store paid man below minimum wage

A former furniture salesman in eastern Ontario says he was paid about $6 per hour including commission, far below minimum wage, which breaks the province's Employment Standards Act.

Ontario labour law requires employees be paid hourly rate of $10.25 or higher

A former salesman with Leon's Furniture store says he is owed money from his former bosses. 3:28

A former furniture store worker has filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board claiming he was illegally paid less than minimum wage while working as a salesman in eastern Ontario.

Mark Lysko was dismissed from his job at Leon’s Furniture store in Brockville, Ont., on June 25, after he was paid about $6 per hour on some paycheques.

Lysko showed CBC News several pay stubs and timecards from his work. One from early June detailed his gross pay of $440. In that period, he worked more than 71 hours for an hourly rate of $6.20 per hour.

"It’s impossible to get by on that wage," said Lysko.

"This is insulting. It's insulting not only to the employees who work there, I would think that other businesses in the same sort of trade would be rather concerned, too."

Lysko said he had an interview with another area furniture retailer, which he added pays the wage plus commission. That is when he thought to go public with his concerns.

Labour law mandates $10.25/hour minimum wage

Ontario's Employment Standards Act states all employees, including those on commission, must receive the minimum wage of at least $10.25 per hour.

That must be shown on each paycheque and not as an average over a longer period of time.

Leon's franchise general manager, Chris McKercher, said the company did not notice the discrepancy in pay at first. But he added it has since made up the difference.

Chris McKercher, general manager of a Leon's Furniture franchise in eastern Ontario, says Lysko did not come to his company with the latest wage concerns. (CBC)

McKercher said he has only seen this specific issue come up two or three times in the past five years.

"There was some confusion on how the labour laws worked on minimum wage. When it was finally brought up to us through the labour board, not to us while he was still employed by us, we went through our time records and paid the gentleman everything that was owed to him," said McKercher.

'He didn't sell enough'

Lysko argues he is still owed between $600 and $800 dollars of back pay. He has filed a formal complaint to the company and is waiting to hear a response.

"I know it doesn't seem like a lot … but right is right and fair is fair and that is really what this is all about," said Lysko,

Lysko's pay stub from early June shows he made $440 over a two-week period before deductions. (CBC)

McKercher believes Lysko was paid "just over minimum wage." He said the issue was not caught earlier due to several reasons, including Lysko's alleged lack of selling ability.

"He didn't sell enough to make more than minimum wage and because it's so rare and not brought up to us by the individual, we didn't check into it," said McKercher.

McKercher also said Lysko was dismissed because he did not sell enough value-added products, such as extended warranties and fabric treatments.

"Most of our salespeople make more than minimum wage and it's all based on your selling ability and your customer service."

McKercher added he has never had to deal with the Canada Industrial Relations Board before. They are now investigating.