Toronto Restaurant Worker Speaks Up After Unpaid Trial Shift

Has this ever happened to you?

Work is hard enough as it is..


…and if you’re not getting paid what you’re owed, it’s not only a nuisance, it’s also illegal.

If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business, you’ve probably experienced a practice called a “trial shift,” in which a worker will come in and complete a training shift (or multiple training shifts), before the employer commits to an outright hire.

Stacey Feldman, a former candidate for front of house manager at a local unnamed restaurant and was on top of the world when she was asked to come in for a trial shift after her first interview with the business.

“I was a waitress and a dishwasher and a bartender … you name it. It was the whole kit and caboodle,” she told CBC News. Feldman completed a seven-hour 9-4 shift at the restaurant, but later received an email saying she didn’t get the job.

In the notice, there was no mention of any compensation, which lead Feldman to send an invoice for her hours worked, but that was ignored. Eventually, the situation was resolved, but that was only after she pursued compensation in person. Now, Feldman is speaking up.

The local resident took to social media to ask if this hiring practice was normal.

She said, “A lot of people came back and said, ‘What they’re doing is illegal. I, too, have been involved in this situation.'”

Feldman identified the restaurant to CBC News but said she didn’t want to publicly name it. She’s wants to share her story in hopes of informing others who might be encountering the same issue.

Deena Ladd, coordinator of The Workers’ Action Centre, said Feldman’s story is common, especially in the restaurant and cleaning industries, and that the practice is “completely against the law.”

Under Ontario’s labour laws, all work (even trial shifts), must be paid for unless it’s a specified internship for school credit. Anyone who has experienced this unfair practice, can file a complaint with the labour ministry.

Ladd’s best advice is for everybody to have a clear understanding over the arrangement with their employer. It is always important to know what is expected of you, and vice versa.

What a headache! Have you ever experienced this unfair practice? Let us know in the comments below.