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Penticton Sikh Temple ordered to pay former priest $42K

Temple ordered to pay priest

The Penticton Sikh Temple and Indian Cultural Society has been ordered to pay a former employee it once sued more than $42,000 in unpaid wages. 

In documents filed December 19, 2019 at the Kelowna courthouse, the B.C. Director of Employment Standards determined former priest Jasbir Singh is owed $42,162.15 in wages and interest. 

The director also imposed $3,000 in administrative penalties on the society — $500 for each of the six sections of the Employment Standards Act that were contravened.

The violated sections cover requiring an employer to pay minimum wage and overtime, issue pay at least twice monthly, pay owed wages after a termination, issue proper pay stubs and keep payroll records.

The Society sued Singh back in December 2018, seeking an injunction to have him removed from his residence in the temple that he refused to leave after being fired. The priest, however, left the temple shortly after the civil claim was launched. 

The 2018 lawsuit, which was later dropped, said Singh was hired as a contract employee in 2015 but upgraded to a regular employment position in 2016. His responsibilities included leading services at the temple and acting as a spiritual leader and counsellor for the roughly 640-member congregation.

The Sikh Society alleged it started having performance issues with Singh in July 2018 that continued until he was terminated in December 2018 — the same month the Employment Standards placed all six contraventions of the Employment Standards Act.

The decision notes the Penticton Sikh Temple Society’s 11 directors will be held liable for the total $45,162 owing should the society itself be unable to pay.

Director Ravindeep Matheroo told Castanet that fact has created quite a bit of sensitivity for the temple’s board. 

“We all weren’t in agreement with him being let go, so now the decision comes down that he’s owed money... The directors are all being held liable for it, but all the directors were not in favour of firing him.”

Matheroo declined to comment further.



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