Motel kicks housekeeper out on the street, must pay $10,000

Owner claimed worker was independent contractor who didn’t require minimum wage, but controlled all aspects of the job
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

An Ontario employer must pay a struggling former employee more than $10,000 in lost wages and damages for pain and suffering after forcing the employee to work for below minimum wage and then firing her when she asked to be paid fairly, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled.

Elitsa Teneva was hired on Jan. 25, 2014, to work as a housekeeper cleaning rooms at the Cloverleaf Motel, a motel in Oshawa, Ont. At the time, Teneva was homeless and receiving social assistance, so she had a verbal agreement with David McKeown, the manager of Cloverleaf, to deduct $250 per week from the money she earned for a room at the motel.

The motel paid Teneva on a per-room basis — $4 for a single room and $6 for a double room. She would clean, vacuum, change the beddings and change the towels in each room, which was expected to take about 20 minutes.