Safety trumps accommodation for worker with mental illness (Legal View)

Reinstatement into hectic workplace not possible with continued risk of violent episodes: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/11/2013

An Ontario arbitrator has found a frequently absent employee should not be reinstated to active duty, but should be reinstated for the purposes of applying for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.

Agropur Division Natrel, a manufacturer of dairy products based in Longueuil, Que., had a 38-year-old labourer at its Toronto plant who had been diagnosed with “severe mental health conditions.” The employee suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, impulse control disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and personality disorders.

The employee was hired in 2000 but in 2009 he began having serious difficulty and sought treatment for his mental health issues. He went on short-term disability benefits and spent two months at a health centre in a program for traumatic stress recovery. He was released in June 2010 with the expectation he could return to work with accommodations in August.