A director of six southern Ontario businesses has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for repeatedly failing to pay workers.
Steven Blondin, head of Automotive Containment Solutions Inc. and Axcea International, among other companies, was found guilty of breaching Ontario’s Employment Standards Act after the province’s Court of Justice found he had failed to pay 61 employees at a number of his companies from 2007 to 2009.
“This sentence serves as a warning to those who believe they are above the law,” provincial Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey said in a statement.
Blondin and his companies were issued 113 orders to pay back some $125,000 in back wages to the 61 employees, none of which were obeyed, the ministry stated.
Blondin's companies were involved in property management, warehousing, transportation and other business services. It's unclear if they are still operating.
In addition to the jail time, Blondin was ordered to pay the outstanding amounts to his employees, plus a 25-per-cent victim surcharge. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $280,000.
Rotman School of Management professor Rick Powers told the Toronto Star the verdict sends two messages: “First, that the system works and secondly, that the courts, certainly in this instance, are not going to accept this type of behaviour.”
“Since 2004, the Ministry’s Employment Standards Program has recovered more than $90 million in wages and other monies owed to employees through inspections, claims and collections,” the Ministry of Labour said.
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In 2010, the restaurant chain Hooters was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/us/11sfhooters.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">hit with multiple lawsuits</a> alleging that employees had not been given adequate rest and meal breaks and that they had not been paid, or not been paid enough, for special promotional events.
Last year, Groupon was implicated in <a href="http://consumerist.com/2011/09/more-groupon-employees-sue-over-unpaid-overtime.html" target="_hplink">multiple lawsuits from employees</a> who said the company failed to pay them for overtime work.
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