Pregnant workers more vulnerable to health risks

Supreme Court reinforces right to refuse unsafe work
By Liz Bernier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2014

During pregnancy, workers often become more vulnerable to health risks in the workplace — and pregnancy may trigger the right to refuse unsafe work.

That’s according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada, which reinforced some of the legal protections offered to pregnant workers in Quebec.

In Dionne v. Commission scolaire des Patriots, the Supreme Court considered the case of a pregnant supply teacher, Marilyne Dionne, who was advised by her doctor she was susceptible to a number of harmful viruses. Her work environment — the classroom — posed a health risk because children are common carriers of some of the viruses.