Employers who have bona fide reasons for
dismissing an employee should avoid using "not the right
fit". They should also show up at Ontario Labour Relations
An employee who was dismissed hours after a Ministry of Labour
inspector's visit, was fired in retaliation for raising safety
issues and was awarded $19,000.00 in damages.
The employee was a maintenance manager at a hotel. In May
2014, an anonymous telephone call was made to a MOL health and
safety inspector regarding floor drains backing up at the hotel as
well as a "precariously hanging partition wall hanging in the
ballroom". Around the same time, the employee had
informed the hotel's General Manager that the employee required
a fall protection harness in order to work on a 25 foot high
scaffold. The General Manager refused his request and ordered him
to do the work without a safety harness.
The MOL inspector met with the employee and General Manager, and
issued an order that required the hotel to use a suitable company
to repair the partition wall as it was too dangerous for the
maintenance department to repair. Despite that, the General
Manager continued to pressure the employee to climb the
A few hours after the inspector left, the General Manager
dismissed the employee. The termination letter stated that the
employee was "not the right fit to our hotel property",
while the hotel's response to the employee's reprisal
complaint at the OLRB claimed that he was "not skilled enough
for the position" and that he had not been terminated
"because he refused dangerous work".
The Ontario Labour Relations Board found that the hotel's
"attempted explanation" for the employee's dismissal
was questionable, "to express it mildly". If the
employee had not been the right fit, or was not skilled enough,
then there would have been written or verbal evidence to that
effect. However, there was no evidence that the employee had
any shortcomings, and in fact the General Manager had responded
"Awesome" to an e-mail from the employee in which he had
described some "things which I would like to accomplish in the
maintenance department". No one had attended the OLRB
hearing for the hotel.
The OLRB decided that the employee had suffered a reprisal under
the Occupational Health and Safety Act: he was fired for
raising safety issues. That was a violation of the OHSA.
There was no other possible conclusion. The OLRB
awarded the employee six months' wages, amounting to
$19,000.00, and ordered the hotel to post a copy of the OLRB's
decision in the hotel's premises so it could be read by
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