Worker fired after 7-year sick leave (Legal view)

DND breached confidentiality of mediation process
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/17/2008

The Department of National Defence (DND) discriminated against a worker when it terminated him after he was on sick leave for seven years without adequately investigating ways he could return to work, an adjudicator for the Canadian Public Service Labour Relations Board has ruled.

Michael Pepper joined DND as an apprentice in 1977, later taking on the role of systems electronic technician at the fleet maintenance facility in Cape Scott, N.S.

In 1993, a female apprentice was brought into the maintenance shop where Pepper worked under an equal-employment initiative. After her apprenticeship, she was classified one level higher than Pepper, though he had more seniority and experience. Pepper often had to review and redo her work, which frustrated him. He and other employees viewed the female co-worker as a “protected person.” She was able to advance without seniority, contrary to regular practice.