Employer not to blame for breakdown (On law)

Work can be stressful but employer’s actions must be extreme and calculated for courts to award compensation
By Daniel Lublin
|CHRR, Report on Healthy Workplaces|Last Updated: 04/18/2008

Mental suffering at work is real. But that doesn’t mean employers will always be held responsible, as seen in a court decision handed down last year in Ontario.

Having just been denied a promotion at work, Maria Amaral was devastated. As an employee of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency for 23 years, Amaral thought she should have been promoted to manager. But her boss, Caroline Rioux, thought otherwise. Shortly after she didn’t get the promotion, Amaral was disciplined for refusing a directive to write a letter.

Dejected, Amaral let her performance suffer further and she began missing more work. Rioux warned Amaral to shape up and eventually the agency relieved Amaral of some of her duties. However, her absenteeism and job performance worsened. The agency placed her on probation, putting her on the path to dismissal.