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Alleged unlawful detainment at Richmond hotel amid picketing sparks small-claims action

Unite Here Local 40 workers have been on strike since June 14
Sheraton workers have been on strike for more than a month | Richmond News file photo

A Richmond resident is suing an airport hotel, amid claims he was illegally detained behind picket lines by security guards.

Alton Hei Ching Cheung went along to the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, on Westminster Highway, on June 16 to show his support for the hotel’s striking workers.

Cheung - who is not a member of the workers’ union, Unite Here Local 40 - entered the hotel and took pictures and video.

In his small claims action, he explains he was there to see if the hotel was breaking labour laws during the strike by unionized workers.

According to his action, when questioned why he was at the hotel, he said he was visiting a friend who was a guest in the hotel.

However, when staff wanted to check whom he was visiting and took him to the lobby, two security guards told him he was trespassing, at which time Cheung said he would leave.

He claims the two security guards blocked the exit and then placed their arms around him to prevent him from leaving.

Cheung further claims the two security guards detained him for 20 minutes and, while he was detained, security, management and other staff were videotaping him, the small claims action alleges.

Cheung claims he felt “afraid and threatened” while he was detained.

According to the court documents, hotel staff called the police but told Cheung he could leave.

Cheung is claiming $35,000 in damages as well as interest and costs.

The action was filed in Richmond Small Claims Court.

None of the allegations have been proved in court.

The suit was filed on July 24 and the defendant, Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, has not filed a response.

Hotel workers have been without a contract since June 2020 and went on strike just over a month ago.