Weatherall Dock and Dredge Inc. 

Background

A lot of work goes into building a beautiful marina before one can stand on the promenade and enjoy the salty sea breeze and ochre evening skies.

There is cement work to be done, sheet pile walls to be built, the harbour must be dredged, and the docks and break walls repaired. When Weatherall Dock and Dredge finished the project on the Meaford Marina in Ontario, the Crown called it “craftmanship”, and gave them one of the highest ratings.

Weatherall Dock and Dredge was started in 1985 by Morgan and Barbara Weatherall. The company is based out of Markdale, Ontario, and was incorporated in 2002.

“We’re in the business of heavy construction. We specialize in sheet pile marine, dredging, dock repairs, dam building, pile driving for bridges and retaining walls,” say Barbara Weatherall, about her small family business. The company began with a staff of three (including the couple), and currently has 10 full-time employees.

Weatherall Dock and Dredge has been a Peninsula client since July 2020.

Challenges

Barbara felt the need for employee management support when an employee took her to the labour board.

The employee put in a claim alleging his wages and paystub had not been given to him on time. If wages are not paid on time, the employer can get a notice of contravention and be penalized. The company rule was that employees picked up their biweekly pay and paystub from the office. What had happened was that the employee had himself requested that he be sent his wages and pay stub by mail. When they mailed it to him, the Weatheralls had no control over when he received it. The employee knew why he had received his pay and wage statement for the last two weeks of June in the first week of July.

“It is worrisome and hard on our nerves,” says Barbara of the unpleasant episode. “We’ve always treated our employees good. Paid them well, given them bonuses on Christmas.”

Peninsula reviewed the case and helped Barbara provide the employment standards officer with documents that proved the claimant’s allegations were false.

“And it all got settled,” says Barbara. “I think it would have been a lot harder if I had to do it by myself.”

This wasn’t the first time that a disgruntled employee had created trouble, says Barbara. “I wish I had known about Peninsula from the day that we started our business,” she says. “because then I wouldn’t have to do everything. If I had paperwork in place it probably would never have got as far as it did at the time.”

Peninsula helped Weatherall Dock and Dredge with employee contracts, handbooks and HR policies. While it helped bring structure and discipline to the company’s internal operations, Barbara says it wasn’t easy to implement.

“Some of the guys won’t sign it [the new contracts]. They threatened to quit. They are too used to having their own way. Ultimately, they had to sign it,” she says.  

The Peninsula service

“We had to learn everything the hard way, but I think it’s good for people just starting out in business to have professional HR support,” says Barbara who recently recommended Peninsula to her niece who is starting a landscaping business.

“I told her you think you’re protected and they [disgruntled employees] are not going to come after you. But they come after you for the least little thing,” she says.

“My experience with Peninsula has been excellent so far. I have no complaints whatsoever,” says Barbara. “Thanks to them, I found out things I didn’t even know,” she says.

THEY SAID

We had to learn everything the hard way, but I think it’s good for people just starting out in business to have professional HR support. I wish I had known about Peninsula from the day that we started our business.

Barbara Weatherall, co-owner, Weatherall Dock and Dredge Inc. 

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