Sunday, 12 August 2007

Regina Restaurant Rips Off Workers

On Saturday, July 28, 2007 the Regina Leader Post ran a story entitled: Post-secondary students entitled to call-out pay. The story reports on a recent decision by Labour Standards Adjudicator, Maureen Dumonceaux upholding claims against Regina restaurant Poverino's Pasta Grill for unpaid wages.

The article focused on the part of the adjudicators decision that states the minimum 3 hour call-out section of the minimum wage provisions of the Saskatchewan Labour Standards Act must apply to post-secondary students. In other words, post-secondardy students, who are workers, must receive at least the equivalent of 3 hours pay at minimum wage each time they are called out (or scheduled and attend/report) to work. Just like all other Saskatchewan workers.

You can read the entire decision by clicking here. There was an additional decision issued at the same time which you can view a copy of by clicking here.

What wasn't focused on in the article is the fact that Poverino's has been ordered to pay, in total, more than $62,000.00 in unpaid wages to some 135 workers who have been cheated out of pay they earned and pay they were entitled to when Poverino's closed it's doors in late 2006.

There have been two wage assessments filed against Poverino's:

1. The first one dated January 4, 2007 (click here to view) and is in the amount of $19,156.33.

2. The second one dated February 16, 2007 (click here to view) which replaces the first one and is in the amount of $62,205.80.

You will notice in the first assessment, that on Schedule "A" Page 3 of 4 - there were two claims which were subsequently withdrawn. One by Kirby Onishenko in the amount of $2,572.12 and the other by Lori Onishenko in the amount of $2,171.71. Curious???

You will see from documents obtained from the Corporate Registry of the Saskatchewan Corporations Branch (view here) that Kirby Onishenko was/is listed as a significant shareholder of numbered company 626385 Saskatchewan Ltd. owning and operating under the trade name of Poverino's Pasta Grill.

A further connection between Numbered Company 626385 and Poverino's Pasta Grill (in Regina) is verified by viewing this cheque issued from Poverinos. You will notice from the cheque that the address of the Regina Poverinos is 2635 E Star Lite St. I wonder whose signature is on the cheque?

It was interesting then to read that a "New" restaurant namely "The Black Pepper Italian Eatery and Piano Bar", reportedly owned by Onishenko, is having problems recruiting workers.

The Thursday, August 8, 2007 edition of the Regina Leader-Post ran a story entitled: Bonuses lure line cooks, reporting that Onishenko is offering bonuses of up to $1,000.00 to lure cooks to his "new" business. For the record - the "new" Black Pepper is operating out of the exact same location as the "old" Poverino's Pasta Grill - i.e - 2635 E Star Lite St., Regina, SK.

Coincidence? You tell me.

Perhaps the main stream media should do a bit more "investigative reporting".


leftdog said...

Thanks for the info Larry. I know where my family is NOT going to go for a meal! - And I fully plan on passing this info around by email and word of mouth!

I hope these young workers can get the wages that they are entitled to.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for exposing this. I think people should really wake up and realize the mainstream media in Regina very rarely gets off it's collective behinds to investigate a story. If there is a business story then CJME goes straight to Paul Martin. The same Paul Martin that ran the Regina Free Press into the ground. Now he's a "consultant" so that makes him an expert. The Leader Post pays reporters $9.50/hour and has them work 75 hours a week so I can imagine the lure to seek the truth probably isn't a motivational factor. I believe Blogs are the way of the future if you want to get accurate reporting information.
Bob Hughes of the Leader Post basically sits in Nicky's Cafe and that would appear to be his source of investigative journalism.

Anonymous said...

This may shock many, but not being paid for the minimum amount of time that is required by law is NOT uncommon across the country. I work in the service industry, and it is not uncommon to be sent home after 45min or 1h30m. Nowhere NEAR provincial standards for minimum time worked/paid for.

While not uncommon, I applaud those going for the win on this one and getting what, truly, is entitled to them!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment, many companies get around the minimum shift payout by asking staff to voluntarily leave. I have worked at a large, chain restaurant where there are usually somewhere around 20 servers on a shift. When it is not busy, instead of sending people home, they would ask people if anyone wanted to go home, if they have volunteered to leave, then they don't have to be paid the minimum shift.

Larry Hubich said...

Actually, it's still a violation of the law if the employer does not pay the minimum 3 hour call-out (at least in Saskatchewan it is) even if an employee takes the offer to voluntarily go home. An employee can not contract out of a minimum statute as prescribed by law.

As an example - the minimum wage in Saskatchewan is 7.95 per hour - even if an employee agrees that he/she will work for, say 5.00 per hour - the employer is still liable to pay the worker a minimum of 7.95 per hour for each hour worked.

The minimum is the minimum - you can't legally go any lower. When employers knowingly cheat workers out of their rightful entitlement they are breaking the law, and should be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

I worked for 18 years at Red Lobster when the invited all staff in to taste new lobster dishes and then gave us all a doughnt and fired us. They cancelled our benfits and did not pay us fair notice pay. Red Lobster also refused to give servers breaks, sent us home without pay and even though we declared our tips each night did not pay EI premiums so when fired we were really in hard times.Red Lobster should be avoided untilthey follow fair practices.