A Dominos Pizza franchise located in Mississauga has found itself in hot water this past week after having to pay $28,144.54 to a former delivery employee for lost wages and violating the Employment Standards Act.
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Juan Jose Lira Cervantes, the delivery driver in question who is also a father to six children, first filed a complaint against the Dominos location he works at in March. Claiming that for the past four years he has been doing the work of an employee but has only been getting the pay and benefits of an independent contractor, who makes less than an official employee.
While there are some positives to being an independent contractor such as being able to make your own hours, they aren't able to get overtime or vacation pay. Since independent contractors don't get the same pay and protection as employees under Ontario's labour law, companies often attempt to keep their employees as contractors or part-time workers in an effort to save money. This Dominos franchise is just the latest example.
What made matters worse in this situation was when Cervantes initially filed the complaint, he realized he had been removed from the work schedule after his boss found out. He told CBC News, "first I complained. Then I was fired. It didn't make sense, because I had been working for them for four years. How come all of the sudden I was fired just after I made the complaint?"
Thankfully, a decision was reached on November 5th and found that Cervantes was acting as an employee, therefore he should be compensated as one. Resulting in a payment of over $28,000 for Cervantes in which $17,539.60 was part of the money he was owed for working for below minimum wage. The Ministry of Labour also ruled that he was entitled to vacation, overtime and holiday pay as well as benefits.
Sadly, this isn't the first Dominos franchise to violate this kind of employment law. Back in February of 2017, a Dominos employee in Guelph quit after a week of working as an employee but being treated as a contractor, earning only $5 an hour plus tips. The Ministry of Labour rectified this issue and ordered Dominos to pay out the employee's lost wages as well.
Clearly, the employee versus contractor struggle between workers and upper management is an issue within the restaurant industry. A similar case was even found in an Ontario casino earlier this month where they refused to offer workers full-time hours.
If the situation teaches prospective employees anything, it's to avoid contract work if possible if you don't want to get taken advantage of. If you are a contract worker and feel you aren't being properly compensated, file your claim as soon as possible. The Ministry of Labour can only demand a company to pay up to two years worth of lost wages at the maximum.
Source: CBC News