Airport worker receives big payout after suffering false accusation, firing (Legal view)

Worker awarded $500,000 after being turfed based on video surveillance
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/31/2010

An Ontario airport administration company was ordered to pay an employee $100,000 in damages and years of salary after firing her for sick leave fraud without properly investigating the circumstances.

The employee, 53, was a fleet co-ordinator at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), looking after 200 of its vehicles. Her job involved delivery and pickup of vehicles for maintenance and extensive walking and driving. She worked for the GTAA for 23 years without any disciplinary problems or concerns about her job performance.

On Oct. 31, 2003, she injured her knee while getting out of a utility vehicle. She took a couple of days off work and planned to go to physiotherapy for six months. She didn’t need any significant modifications at work but made some small ones on her own, such as moving around when her knee became sore. However, the therapy didn’t help and she had arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 19, 2004. Following the surgery, her doctor gave her a medical note instructing her to take four weeks off for recovery.