Shaw offered better deals to Mandarin-, Cantonese-speaking customers: lawsuit
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2018 4:07PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 30, 2018 8:02AM PDT
A former Shaw Communications employee is suing the telecoms giant for allegedly forcing her to offer better deals to customers who spoke Mandarin or Cantonese.
According to a civil claim filed with the B.C. Supreme Court earlier this month, Kwok Bo Daisy Halliday worked as a multi-cultural customer service representative for the company between February and May.
"She is a native-born, Chinese-speaking person herself," said her lawyer, Martin Sheard, adding that Halliday was tasked with answering retention calls during which dissatisfied customers threatened to leave and sign up for a competitor's services.
"We have alleged that Shaw was giving preferential treatment to any customer who happens to speak either Cantonese, Mandarin or both vis-à-vis its other customers," Sheard told CTV News Wednesday. "We do have documentary evidence to establish this which will come out during the course of the litigation."
Sheard said the alleged practice runs afoul of several laws, including B.C.'s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
"It is unlawful to engage in practices where the practices are deceptive, so giving one group of people preferential treatment vis-à-vis a price versus another group of people can be done in certain circumstances, but it would appear that in these circumstances, Shaw is trying to use language as a shield to not be found out," he said.
The lawyer said he's aware of the existence of at least one email that works to prove his client's claim.
According to the court documents, Halliday was let get go "without cause and without notice" on May 7 and is also seeking damages for wrongful termination.
She is also asking for compensation for legal costs and any additional relief that might be decided by the court.
According to its website, Shaw began its operations in 1971. It now provides internet, telephone, mobile and cable television services to 3.2 million customers.
The lawsuit asks the court to award punitive damages against the company. Sheard said the dollar amount of those damages should reflect the defendant's wealth and be enough to act as a deterrent moving forward.
None of the allegations mentioned in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
Disclosure: Shaw Communications is a competitor of Bell Media, the parent company of CTV News.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith