VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The operators of Vancouver’s Pan Pacific hotel are getting sued for terminating nearly 100 long-term workers last March.
Zailda Chan, president of the UNITE HERE Local 40, says most of the employees impacted are struggling immigrants, visible minorities, and women. Chan says those workers could be owed as much as $3 million.
“Over 80 per cent of workers have been laid off. We also understand and anticipate that this will be the last industry to recover. However, the class-action lawsuit was filed because Pan Pacific workers were wrongfully terminated without any notice,” she said.
Chan argues the Pan Pacific Hotel has circumvented the Employment Standards Act.
“[It] has protections regarding advance notice,” she said. “Also, they would be owed some payments if they were to be terminated. But in this case, they were misled.”
She claims many workers believed that they would actually have two jobs, only to later be fired in “batches.”
“The first batch was in June, followed by the next group of people terminated in August. And then the last group in December,” she said.
A civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court says hotel management concocted a plan to reduce its staff from 450 workers to 80, and to dismiss the rest. In total, 370 employees were laid off.
“During this climate — when the hotel industry should really be ensuring that people will have jobs to go back to whenever the economy recovers — they’re using it as an opportunity to save millions of dollars,” Chan said.
Between firings, Chan claims the hotel offered employees the chance to become casual workers, in exchange for $250. Anyone who refused the offer were among those fired.
Chan says if this class action case succeeds, the workers who’ve lost their jobs could be owed as much as $3 million.
NEWS 1130 has reached out for a response from the owners of the Pan Pacific Hotel.