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No tattoo gun compensation for B.C. woman, tribunal rules

The apprentice wasn't entitled to keep the $3,100 tattooing equipment, B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal says
A B.C. tattooing apprentice won't be compenstated for equipment she claimed the company would give her. (stock photo)

A B.C. woman won't be compensated for tattooing equipment after the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruled its ownership was contingent on her completing an apprenticeship.

Nicole Jean Leisher had filed a small claims action with the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal for $4,900, claiming $1,800 for her final pay and $3,100 for the cost of her tattooing equipment from her former employer, Don’t Look Down Tattoo & Apparel (DLD)

The company countered that Leisher’s ownership of the equipment was contingent on her working for DLD for three years after completing her apprenticeship, which she did not do.

DLD said Leisher breached her employment contract in various ways, including by leaving it to work for a competitor. For those reasons, DLD claimed the equipment does not belong to her and it owes her nothing.

Work cut short

Leisher signed an employment contract and began full-time employment with DLD July 21, 2021, according to the ruling. 

The contract required Leisher to pay DLD a $10,000 tuition fee for her apprenticeship education, which she did between October 2021 and February 2022.

Leisher also agreed to commit to working for the company for three years after completing her apprenticeship.

The contract allowed Leisher to terminate her employment if she gave DLD more than two weeks’ notice or “the minimum required by law,” wrote Tribunal member Sarah Orr in her Aug. 18 decision.

Leisher completed her apprenticeship a year after she started and continued working at the tatoo parlour until the fall of 2022.

But on Nov. 1, Leisher gave DLD one month’s notice and stopped working. 

While the company kept the tatoo equipment, despite Leisher saying it belongs to her, and claiming $3,100 for its replacement cost.

The company, however, said that immediately before Leisher signed the employment contract, its owner verbally agreed to credit $2,500 of Leisher’s $10,000 tuition fee towards purchasing tattooing tools and equipment for her.

“I find Ms. Leisher has failed to prove a valid and enforceable verbal agreement for her to keep the tattooing equipment,” Orr said. “So, I find she is not entitled to compensation for the tattooing equipment, and I dismiss her claim.”