The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal has
awarded workers' compensation benefits to a bus driver who was
assaulted by a stranger in a parking lot on a paid break.
The worker was returning to his bus from his car during his
shift when the stranger asked for his car keys and subsequently
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board had denied benefits to
The employer argued that the worker had participated in a fight,
and WSIB policy denies benefits to workers injured as a result of
participating in a fight as they have taken themselves out of the
course of employment. The WSIAT disagreed, finding that the worker
did not participate in a fight: the worker and the stranger did not
exchange blows, but rather the worker was unilaterally assaulted
and made efforts to get away.
Finally, the WSIAT decided that the injury had been sustained in
the course of employment. The accident occurred during fixed
working hours and while engaging in an activity –
retrieving his driver's license and his lunch from his car
during paid recovery time – reasonably incidental to
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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