Pre-hiring representations

The Employment Standards Act applies before you even hire an employee.

Section 8 of the Employment Standards Act imposes a duty on every employer not to mislead potential employees in the course of hiring. The wording of Section 8 is as follows:

8.   An employer must not induce, influence or persuade a person to become an employee, or to work or to be available for work, by misrepresenting any of the following:

(a) the availability of a position;

(b) the type of work;

(c) the wages;

(d) the conditions of employment.

Remedy for misrepresentation

An employee who feels you have breached Section 8 may bring a complaint to the Director of Employment Standards.  The Director’s job to ensure employees’ basic rights are met – in other words, its purpose is not to protect the employer.

If the Director of Employment Standards determines that there has been misrepresentation, the penalty imposed on the employer is almost limitless: the employee is entitled to all the wages they lost as a result of the misrepresentation, pursuant to Section 79 of the Act.  There is also a $500 penalty for every breach of the Act.

In practice, this means the employee may be compensated for the entire time they are searching for new work, however long that may be.  It may mean the employee  is entitled to compensation for work that they left in order to accept the employment that was misrepresented.

Clearly misrepresentation claims are best avoided.

Get pre-hiring advice

We can help you prepare and implement a pre-hiring strategy that ensures your representations are clear and your processes are lawful.  Contact us to speak with a lawyer.

The information provided on this page is a general overview of the misrepresentation rules set out in the BC Employment Standards Act.  It should not be taken as legal advice.  For answers to specific questions about your workplace obligations, contact EmployRight and speak with one of our employment lawyers.