Working excessive hours could pose a safety issue, the Ontario
Labour Relations Board has held in refusing to dismiss a complaint
that the employee was fired in retaliation for raising safety
Section 50 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act
protects employees against retaliation for raising safety
Interestingly, the complaint was filed by a former manager with
the Public Services Health and Safety Association, a "safe
workplace association" designated by the Minister of Labour
under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. He
claimed that the employer dismissed him in retaliation for him
raising certain concerns, which he characterized as safety
The employer asked the OLRB to dismiss the employee's
complaint, arguing that the issues that he had raised
before his dismissal were not safety issues. The OLRB, however,
decided that excessive hours of work could possibly raise a safety
issue, so that part of the complaint could proceed.
The OLRB did, however, dismiss the employee's allegations
that the employee's pre-dismissal complaint that other staff
had been treated negatively and that the employer had interfered
with the pay equity process, raised safety issues.
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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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