An employee who was fired one day after complaining to the
Ministry of Labour that she felt threatened by "disgruntled
and aggressive clients" was entitled to damages for the
retaliatory discharge, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has
The employee worked for an investment/marketing company. She
tried to speak with a company manager about her concerns with
aggressive clients and about having the company develop procedures
to deal with matters such as violence and harassment. The manager
refused to entertain the suggestions.
The employee then contacted the Ministry of Labour and told the
MOL that she felt threatened in the workplace and that her employer
had no policies to deal with her concerns. After a co-worker
contacted the MOL with concerns, an MOL inspector came to the
workplace and ordered the employer to prepare a violence and
harassment policy. The next day, the company dismissed the
The OLRB accepted that the threat posed by "disgruntled and
aggressive clients" was a workplace safety issue under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act, and that the employee
had characterized it as such when she had complained to management.
Also, in the absence of an explanation by the employer (the
employer did not attend the OLRB hearing), the OLRB was satisfied
that at least part of the company's reason for dismissing her
was her safety complaint. As such, her termination was an illegal
reprisal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. She
found employment quickly, and was entitled to damages in the amount
of four weeks' wages.
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