Fired Stelco worker awarded $350,000

Court holds company responsible for LTD benefits until worker turns 65 — case underscores importance of continuing benefits during the notice period
By Todd Humber
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/31/2006

When it comes to firing a worker without cause, companies often focus on the amount of reasonable notice they should pay the employee — not surprising, because that’s often the most significant issue. But employers should also continue benefits coverage during the notice period because the amount of reasonable notice might be a pittance compared to what the employer could be on the hook for if the worker becomes disabled during the notice period.

That was the case in a recent decision involving Lake Erie Steel Company, one of Stelco’s associated companies, when it fired a worker with a significant absenteeism problem. Not only was the worker awarded reasonable notice, but the court also ordered Stelco to pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars in long-term disability payments because she became completely disabled during the notice period.

The case