A worker was entitled to asbestos records for the government
building he worked in. However, he was not entitled to a list of
government employees who worked in the building and therefore who
may have been exposed to asbestos, a B.C. freedom of information
adjudicator has held.
The worker asked for and was given records in relation to air
quality and discovery of asbestos in two government buildings. He
was denied access to an email containing a list of government
employees who worked in the building.
The employee appealed. The adjudicator refused access to the
employee list. She decided that the government had gathered the
names of employees for the purposes of possible future workplace
health and safety claims. As such, the list related to
employees' "employment history" and this should not
be disclosed. Also, because the context in which the list was
created indicates that the employees in the building may have been
exposed to asbestos, the list would reveal information about
"medical history". That was another reason why, under the
freedom of information legislation, the list should not be
While the case deals with government-owned buildings, the
decision perhaps demonstrates some workers' anxiety about
asbestos in buildings and their perceptions regarding risks 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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