Residence assistants claim Concordia University owes them a combined total of $60,249.17, according to a lawsuit filed against the school by The Commission des Normes de l’Équité de la Santé et de la Sécurité du travail on Nov. 18.
The Lawsuit filed with Montreal’s civil court claims that Concordia owes Matthew Conner, Alexi Laishley, Olivia Lemieux, Kathleen Tahara Ochoa Briggs and Monica Thom for salary, statutory holiday and annual vacation pay.
“Us, as the support staff, we’ve never actually had any problems like that,” Donna Fasciano, the president of the Concordia University Support Staff Union (CUSSU), told The Concordian.
Fasciano claimed she was unaware of any lawsuits regarding pay disputes being brought forward against Concordia. She said the CUSSU often receives calls from employees asking questions regarding what they are entitled to when it comes to their pay and vacation days, but never any complaints about them being owed anything.
The Concordian was not able to confirm with Concordia if these individuals are still employed with the university or what position they held, but according to Laishley’s and Thom’s LinkedIn profiles, they both worked as residence assistants from August 2018 to May 2019.
A residence assistant is a non-unionized position that full-time second and third year students can hold while living in residence, whose role the university’s website describes as to “facilitate the growth and development of the residence community and help each student achieve their academic, social, and personal goals.”
According to the job description, each residence assistant is required to work a minimum of two shifts per week. It implies working with their manager to organize and implement educational and leisure programming in the residences, assisting with the check-in and check-out of residents to and from the dormitories, and acting as a mediator and resource person to all residents, as well as other additional responsibilities.
They must be prepared to spend at least three of every four weekends and at least two evenings in residence outside of duty shifts as well as maintain an academic GPA of 2.50 or better.
As remuneration, the website indicates that the residence assistant’s rent fees are waived during the period of the contract, they receive an on-campus meal plan and will have documentation of this position on their co-curricular record.
In addition to the $60,249.17, in accordance with Section 114 of the Norme du Travail’s Act Respecting Labour Standards, the complainants are requesting an additional 20 per cent of the amount they claim is owed. It represents $12,049.83, which would be paid entirely to the Commission des Normes de l’Équité de la Santé et de la Sécurité du travail, as well as interest and court costs.
Concordia University spokesperson Vannina Maestracci declined our request for an interview stating that the school does not comment on judicial disputes, pending or threatened.
The university has 15 days from the time the lawsuit was filed to respond or a default judgment can be placed against them.
Graphic by Victoria Blair