WorkSafeBC fines Kelowna company over 'claim suppression'

WorkSafe fines local firm

A Kelowna furniture manufacturer has been fined just over $5,300 by WorkSafeBC after an employee suffered an injury years ago.

Hyatt & Sons Manufacturing was issued the penalty following the serious injury of a worker using a table saw.

“WorkSafeBC determined the firm told the worker they should not report the injury,” said the penalty summary online.

“The worker did not report the injury until about four years after it occurred. The firm dissuaded a worker from reporting an injury to WorkSafeBC.”

Additional WorkSafeBC documents released to Castanet state the injury occurred on June 5, 2019. A “claim suppression” investigation by WorkSafeBC was completed in January 2024.

In response to a request for comment by Castanet, company representative Dan Hyatt said the penalty is related to an injury sustained by an “illegal immigrant.”

"We had another migrant worker working for us and he recommended this worker to us,” Hyatt explained in an email.

“He did not have a work permit and would need us to sponsor him to work in this country. He had the experience we were looking for and agreed to sponsor him.”

“We needed somebody to work and he needed to pay rent and feed his family,” Hyatt continued.

He said after the workplace injury, Hyatt said the company paid for the employee’s medical costs and paid him $2,000 per month until he was able to work again.

“At that time we did not know that WorkSafeBC insures anybody who works, even illegal immigrants with no work permit,” he said.

“If we had known this, the story would be different, and we would not have had any out of pocket expenses. We did not tell him not to file, we said we did not think he was covered by WorkSafe.”

Hyatt emphasized that they tried to do the right thing.

“Who would think as an illegal immigrant, no work permit and in this country illegally would be covered?” he said. “Other provinces do not share this same practice.”

Hyatt added that the hurt employee continued to work for the company after his work permit was approved.

“He worked until his second work permit came — we paid for it — he then quit and started filing claims.”

WorkSafeBC says it is against the law for an employer to use any means to discourage the reporting of a workplace injury.

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