Pregnant worker sues sushi restaurant over abortion, wage skimming allegations

Sued over abortion claims

A Kamloops sushi restaurant is being sued by a pregnant temporary foreign worker alleging she had her hours cut drastically after refusing repeated requests from her boss to get an abortion.

Jessa Banih Tindaan filed a notice of civil claim Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court against Arigato Sushi in Aberdeen and Canada Nest, an immigration consulting company, in which she also alleges restaurant owner Byung Mu Yu was skimming money from her paycheques.

According to the claim, Tindaan moved to Kamloops from the Philippines in January and began working at the Hillside Drive restaurant.

Tindaan claims to have told her boss about her pregnancy three weeks after she started at Arigato. She said she was told at that time she could return to work in two weeks if she were to terminate the pregnancy.

According to the claim, Tindaan continued working and was given an ultimatum in April — either abort the pregnancy and stay in Kamloops or return to the Philippines.

In the claim, lawyer Michael Patterson said Tindaan’s bosses were pressuring her to terminate the pregnancy “against her religious beliefs.”

The claim states Tindaan told her employers she was not getting an abortion, after which her hours were cut in half — “to a level that would be unsustainable financially for the plaintiff,” according to Patterson.

“The defendant Arigato Sushi, through its owner, was seeking to push the plaintiff to terminate her pregnancy, return to the Philippines or resign her employment,” the claim alleges.

Tindaan alleges Arigato skimmed $2.40 per hour on each of her paycheques. She is also accusing Canada Nest of illegally charging her $1,000 for an assessment and secretly working on behalf of Arigato.

Patterson accuses Tindaan’s bosses of “badgering, harassing and bullying” her to take advantage of her vulnerability as a temporary foreign worker.

Yu did not respond to Castanet Kamloops’ messages. The Aberdeen location of Arigato Sushi and the Valleyview location of Arigato Sushi have different owners and Tindaan’s claim makes no mention of the Valleyview restaurant.

The defendants will have three weeks to reply to the claim once he has been served.

Tindaan has left Kamloops but is still in B.C. Her baby is due in September.

None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court.

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