Stiffer fines for negligent employers urged after gas-and-dash death

"The workplace death of Jayesh Prajapati is another tragic example of what can happen when the penalty for noncompliance is too feeble to deter reckless employers, and when workers aren't sure about their rights," Wayne Hanley, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), said in a statement Wednesday.

http://www.citytv.com
September 26, 2012

Stiffer fines for negligent employers urged after gas-and-dash death
Shawne McKeown

Jayesh%20Prajapati%20Shell%20victim.jpg

Jayesh Prajapati, 44, was killed while trying to stop a customer who allegedly left a Toronto gas station without paying. HANDOUT

The country’s largest private-sector union is calling on the government to impose stiffer fines for negligent employers in the wake of the death of a Toronto gas station attendant.

Jayesh Prajapati, 44, was killed Sept. 15 when he tried to stop a gas-and-dash driver who fled a Shell station with $112.85 in fuel in Toronto’s west end. His friends and family claim employees at his station were forced to cover the costs of thefts, according to a published report.

"The workplace death of Jayesh Prajapati is another tragic example of what can happen when the penalty for noncompliance is too feeble to deter reckless employers, and when workers aren't sure about their rights," Wayne Hanley, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), said in a statement Wednesday.

"Significantly increasing fine limits for workplace negligence would send a very strong message to rotten employers and cause them to think twice about putting their employees in jeopardy, but that is just one important part of the solution.”

Last week, Toronto MPP Mike Colle introduced a private member’s bill in Prajapati’s honour called Jayesh’s law that would change the Employment Standards Act to include tougher fines for employers who make attendants cover the costs of thefts.

"The fact of the matter is that the government just doesn't have the resources to properly enforce its own legislation,” Hanley said, claiming only 30 of the Ministry of Labour’s 140 full-time workplace inspectors conduct proactive inspections.

Colle’s bill also calls for prepayment at the pumps and changes to the Highway Traffic Act so those convicted of gas theft would have their driver’s licences suspended.

“Having laws to protect is one thing, but making sure those laws are enforced is what really matters, and that needs to be the focus and challenge for people who are serious about fixing this problem," Hanley said.

http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/227397--stiffer-fines-for-negligent-employers-urged-after-gas-and-dash-death


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