Monday, December 11, 2017

Open Space: Student workers should know their rights

November 18, 2015 by Mikayla Russell, contributing writer

Like many students, I have a part-time job. One problem with being new in the workforce is that it’s easy to be oblivious when it comes to workers’ rights and the labour laws in Canada.

Establishments sometimes take advantage of us young workers, as we have no previous experience; this leads them to believe they can get away with paying us less and not giving us the right information when it comes to our rights.

Recently, I went through the experience of trying to get the last paycheck I was owed from a company. It took over two weeks. Working for a big organization whose headquarters are located in Toronto, with scheduling done from an American office, made it very difficult to retrieve my money.

This story originally appeared in our November 18, 2015 issue.

This story originally appeared in our November 18, 2015 issue.

Starting to get frustrated after talking to three managers, Toronto HR, and Victoria HR, I called for the fourth time to try and get some answers. The response I got was both unprofessional and unfair: I was told that with the amount of work they had, I would have to wait an extra four days for the already-two-week-late payment.

This is against labour laws, as they were, essentially, getting free work out of me. Because it was a big, reputable Canadian organization, I had high expectations when I got hired. This situation has made me lose respect for the company.

Moving from an office job to retail, where my workers’ rights were again stripped, has me wondering how some of these places stay afloat with all the rules and regulations they break.

More and more BC businesses are ignoring and abusing the code of conduct that has been set out for them by the BC and Canadian governments. The BC Labour Relations Code is getting ignored and pushed aside; young workers need to educate themselves on what businesses can and can’t get away with.

Read up on your rights as a worker so you can help prevent the abuse of young workers. Don’t be blind to what could be a business breaking the law. Minimum wage is now $10.45; if you’re making below minimum wage, talk to your manager and resolve it.

For more information on your rights as a worker in this province, check out workbc.ca and worksafebc.com.

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