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Disability

Tort of negligent infliction of mental suffering not available in employment context, ONCA rules

In an important decision that came out on May 28, 2010 - Piresferreira v. Ayotte, 2010 ONCA 384 - the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that employees cannot sue their employers for the tort of negligent infliction of mental suffering, at least in Ontario.

Background

At the time of the incident that led to the termination of her employment with Bell Mobility, the plaintiff, Ms. Pieresferreira, was an Account Manager, had 10 years service, was 60 years olds, and had received mostly excellent performance reviews.

As set out by the Court of Appeal, her supervisor, Mr. Ayotte, was a "critical, demanding, loud and aggressive manager" who was known to "swear at employees, had a temper and would bang his fist on the table to make a point" (para. 5).  read more »

"Disability Management Compliance"

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

Three Calgary lawyers at Gowlings - David Corry, Loretta Bouwmeester and Chris Sabat - have prepared a a 48-page overview of the key legal considerations for employers in "Disability Management Compliance". The Table of Contents is as follows:  read more »

Discriminatory to dismiss for non-culpable absenteeism months before severance obligations triggered

The decision by the BC Human Rights Tribunal ("Tribunal") in USWA v. Weyerhaeuser, 2009 BCHRT 328 is important and worth reviewing for two key reasons:

  1. It re-affirms that employers can terminate the employment relationship for innocent or non-culpable absenteeism and provides some guidance on how this can be done through a formal "termination program"; and
  2. It is a reminder to employers that they can be found to have contravened human rights legislation if they treat employees on disability leave different than active employees when addressing severance entitlements at the time of a permanent closure.

Background

The United Steel-Workers Association, Local 1-423 (the "Union") filed a representative complaint with the Tribunal alleging that four of its members (the "Employees") were discriminated against with respect to their employment, on the basis of physical and mental disability, contrary to section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code (the "Code").  read more »

Employee’s refusal to extend Return to Work Agreement, acknowledge alcohol dependency, not just cause

In Taylor v. New Westminster (City) (Vancouver Registry S084283, August 19, 2009), the court found that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who refused to sign an extension to a Return to Work Agreement that required him to acknowledge that he had an alcohol dependency.

Background

At the time of his dismissal, the employee was 54 years old, had 16 years of service and earned a salary of approximately $90,000 per annum. He was Manager of Fleet Services, a safety sensitive position in that he supervised a team of mechanics who performed maintenance and repair work on the employer's various vehicles, including those for the fire and police departments.

Until February 2007, the employee had "an excellent work history" and the employer had "no concerns about his safety in the workplace" (para. 9).

The Incident  read more »