Four temporary foreign workers from Mexico who worked for Tim Hortons in northern B.C. have filed a human rights complaint alleging their boss exploited and discriminated against them by doubling their rent and the bunks in their rooms.
Eugene Kung, a lawyer with the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre, says the four were working at two Tim Hortons locations in Dawson Creek.
Kung said the employees were required to share rooms in two five-bedroom homes owned by their boss, Tony Van Den Bosch.
"They had no privacy in the house. The owner would come in and out as he pleased and would enter people's rooms," Kung said.
In addition, Kung said, the workers were asked to pay rent once at the beginning of the month, and an additional $200 "tip" on top of their monthly rent in the middle of the month, for the double-bunked rooms.
Kung said the employer received about $4,000 a month in rent by doubling up the rooms and doubling the rents.
“When Tim Hortons advertises the double-double, I don’t believe this is what most Canadians had in mind," Kung said in a statement released on Friday morning.
He alleged the employees were also subject to racist comments at work.
"Derogatory racist comments included '[expletive] Mexican workers are lazy' and 'Mexican idiots,' while the employer described himself as the owner of their lives," said Kung.
The employer also regularly asked the workers from Mexico for their passports and would hold them for periods of time, alleged Kung.
"Two of them were fired and sent back to Mexico after raising concerns about their working and living conditions. Two of them actually fled in the middle of the night one night because they were so afraid."
The human rights complaint has been filed against both Van Den Bosch and the Tim Hortons franchise. Additional complaints have also been filed with the Ministry of Labour regarding the employer’s breaches of the Employment Standards Act, said Kung.
Neither Van Den Bosch nor Tim Hortons could be reached for comment.
5 Facts About Roll Up The Rim To Win
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Biggest Prize In Its First Year: Timbits
When Timmies launched Roll Up The Rim in 1986 as a "thank-you" to customers, the largest prize was a snack box of Timbits. Needless to say, the contest has grown in scope since then. Photo: Flickr/Calgary Reviews
Uneven Prize Distribution
If you live on Prince Edward Island, your chances of winning a Roll Up The Rim prize are considerably better than if you live in Ontario. That's because Tim Hortons spreads prizes across the country according to geography, not population density. "<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/03/15/timhortons-060315.html" target="_hplink">If it was all equalized, some places like P.E.I. or New Brunswick might not get one at all</a>," a Timmies rep said. "This is just about trying to create some excitement." Photo: Flickr/n_wilsey
Roll Up The Rim: Kandahar Edition
Until last year, Timmies' famous promotion extended to its location in Afghanistan, which the company set up to serve Canadian soldiers. The Afghan version of the promo featured its own set of prizes, but Tim Hortons' presence in Agfhanistan has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/24/tim-hortons-pulls-out-of-kandahar_n_1111974.html" target="_hplink">come to a close with Canada's reduced role in the war</a>. Photo: Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan line up for donuts and coffee at Tim Hortons, Thursday Jun 29, 2006. (CP PHOTO/ John Cotter)
Only 56 Per Cent Can RRRoll Up The RRRim
According to a study commissioned by Tim Hortons, <a href="http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/780275/tim-hortons-roll-up-the-rim-to-win-celebrates-25-years-with-better-odds-one-in-six-chances-and-more-prizes-than-ever" target="_hplink">only 56 per cent of Canadians can roll their r's like the Timmies commercials show</a>. Only one in five can hold a rolled 'r' for more than 15 seconds, and men appear to be better at it than women. (Alamy photo)
387 Million Prizes In 25 Years
As one of the country's longest-running promotions, Roll Up the Rim has handed out some 387 million prizes since its launch. Says Bill Moir,Tim Hortons' chief brand and marketing officer: "Roll Up the Rim to Win is not only an important part of Tim Hortons' history, it has become an annual Canadian tradition." Photo: Tim Hortons President and CEO Donald B. Schroeder speaks at the company's AGM in Toronto on May 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn