When confronted with information that an employee may be abusing paid sick leave, it is only natural for an employer to want to investigate further. One way in which employers may do this is through the surreptitious surveillance of the employee. However, such surveillance is of limited value unless the employer will be able to rely on the surveillance in a subsequent legal proceeding. read more…
By Keri Bennett
We all know employees across Canada have an obligation to participate in the accommodation process. That extends to providing proper medical documentation. If an employee fails to provide such documentation, surely he or she could be disciplined. Not necessarily.
Notwithstanding the employee’s obligation to participate in the accommodation process, an Ontario arbitrator has ruled that an employer was not entitled to discipline an employee who failed to consent to the release of personal medical information to support repeat absences over a span of eight years. But there can still be consequences to the employee. read more…
Under human rights legislation across the country, Canadian employers have a general duty to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their work for a period of time because of illness or disability to the point of undue hardship.
This may require an employer to grant an employee a leave of absence from the workplace. But what if the employee doesn’t provide medical documentation to justify such an absence; surely you could deny the leave? Not necessarily, according to an Ontario arbitrator in TRW Canada Ltd. and TPEA (Lockhart). read more…
When the employment relationship becomes impossible to perform because of a factor outside the control of a Canadian employer or employee, the employee’s employment can be terminated by virtue of frustration of contract. When an employee won’t be able to return to work because of injury or illness, the same applies. But not so for federally regulated employers such as banks, airlines, inter-provincial trucking companies, etc.
According to the recent decision of Kingsway Transport v. Teamsters, Local Union 91, the frustration argument is no longer available for those employers when the employee’s inability to return to work is because of a work-related injury or illness. read more…
By Keri Bennett
Employers everywhere often wonder when an employee’s “innocent” or no-fault absences reach a level that warrants termination. Can these employees ever be fired? Yes, is the answer from one New Brunswick labor arbitrator in Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1252 and Vitalité Health Network.
A nurse at a hospital in New Brunswick was excessively absent over a 24-year period. The employer made repeated efforts to address her absenteeism, including ongoing letters and meetings under an attendance management program. The employee’s random yet continual absences caused a negative impact on patients, her coworkers, and the employer. The employer issued a written reprimand and raised the threat of suspension and dismissal from 2005 to 2010.
By David Wong
Attendance management programs themselves aren’t discriminatory — they just need to be carefully designed and properly applied. Such is the latest conclusion in continuing litigation between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. and the Canadian Auto Workers, a battle over an attendance management program covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia.
When warehouse worker Dan Tomasella was injured in a car accident in 2008, his employer did the right thing: Maersk Distribution accommodated his graduated return to work and provided him with light duties.
Maersk stepped up again when Tomasella’s shoulder injury was further aggravated. But when the economy took a turn for the worse, Maersk laid him off because of his disability. A labor arbitrator has now found that the employer’s human rights “duty to accommodate” substantially changed when its business was sideswiped by the crashing economy.
When an employee is absent because of long-term disability, employers naturally wonder how long they must wait before the employment contract has been “frustrated.” If it has, the employment contract can be terminated. According to the recent Ontario decision of Naccarato v. Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., however, the question isn’t “how long” but rather “what is the prognosis?”
The G20 Summit of world leaders will be in Toronto June 26-27. The summit is expected to draw considerable attention and thousands of protesters from around the world. Like the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, there will be intensive security measures and lots of potential disruptions.
As the summit will be held at a convention center in the downtown core, it gives rise to many issues for downtown employers. And employers outside the downtown area will be affected too, given that the central hub for commuter trains is in the highest security zone. What can employers expect and how should they respond when faced with this kind of massive, high-security event in their neighborhood? read more…
As we reported four weeks ago (Shocking Arbitration Decision in Ontario), a prominent Canadian arbitrator recently ordered the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to pay more than $500,000 in damages, finding that it failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth about an employee’s medical condition and fired her for sick leave fraud. The question is whether the door to higher damage awards in Canadian labor relations just got a whole lot wider.
On February 19, 2004, the grievor (a 23-year employee with a clean record) underwent arthroscopic surgery as a result of a workplace knee injury. On February 24, her surgeon wrote a note authorizing her to be off work for four weeks to recuperate.