If you disagree with a decision made by the Director of Employment Standards in British Columbia, you may be able to appeal the decision to the Employment Standards Tribunal.
There are limited grounds on which you can make an appeal. An employment lawyer will be able to advise you on about your specific case, and discuss with you whether an appeal to the Tribunal is likely to succeed.
Appealing a Determination
If an employee and an employer in a non-union workplace are in a dispute over wages, overtime, or work conditions, the dispute may be brought to the Director of Employment Standards, whose objective is to ensure that the Employment Standards Act is complied with.
The Director of Employment Standards will make a decision, known as a ‘Determination,’ in each case, including whether either party should receive a payment. If you disagree with the Determination, you may be able to make an appeal to the Employment Standards Tribunal.
An appeal is not available in every case, because there are limited grounds on which an appeal is available. Examples include cases where new evidence has come to light that was not available when the Determination was made, where the Director of Employment Standards made a mistake, or where the Director failed to observe the principles of natural justice.
There are strict time limits for making an appeal, so you need to act quickly. You have just 21 days if the Determination was served personally, or 30 days if it was served by mail (the ‘Appeal Period’).
Steps to appealing a Determination
If you want to make an appeal at the Employment Standards Tribunal, you must do all of the following within the Appeal Period:
- Complete an Appeal Form;
- Deliver all the necessary documents to the Tribunal, including the Appeal Form, a copy of the Determination, and a copy of the written reasons for the Determination, and any additional attachments (such as supporting evidence); and,
- Confirm that a copy of the Appeal Form has been delivered to the Director of Employment Standards.
The Tribunal will then consider what to do next. Sometimes the appeal will be rejected. If the appeal is accepted, the Tribunal will write to the Director of Employment Standards and the other party (the employer/employee) confirming that the appeal will be heard. Each will be asked to respond to the appeal.
The Tribunal then has discretion to decide what to do next. Sometimes an appeal will be decided without a hearing. Other times there will be a hearing over the phone, by video conference, or in person. If there is to be a hearing, witnesses can be asked to give evidence. The Tribunal will then make its decision as to the outcome of the case.
If you are still not satisfied after your appeal to the Employment Standards Tribunal, you may be able to make an Application for Reconsideration to the Tribunal, or seek a Judicial Review of the Tribunal’s decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court. An employment lawyer will be able to advise you what further steps may be appropriate in your particular case.
Ask an employment lawyer for help
If you are dealing with the Director of Employment Standards or the Employment Standards Tribunal, you are entitled to have legal representation. Whether you are making, defending, or appealing a claim, having an employment lawyer on your side will help you to put your best foot forward and give you the best chance of winning your case.
To speak to an employment lawyer about Employment Standards, wrongful termination, or any other workplace law issues, please contact North Shore Law LLP.