Legal briefs

Saskatchewan MLA wins old job back; Travel agent laid off during pregnancy

Saskatchewan MLA wins old job back

Saskatoon — Jack Hillson, a former Liberal MLA who served in provincial cabinet, was awarded his old job back with the province’s Legal Aid Commission by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench. Hillson, who was first elected in 1996, applied for a leave without pay from his position as legal director of the office in North Battleford to serve in the legislature. After being defeated in 2003, he contacted his former employer to let them know he would be returning. The Legal Aid Commission initially balked, but under Saskatchewan’s labour laws it had no choice but to take him back. A section of the Labour Standards Act states employees elected to public office can seek a leave without pay and then, when no longer in office, continue their employment. When the commission eventually agreed to hire Hillson back in January 2004, it immediately gave notice that it was terminating his employment in September 2004 and said he didn’t need to show up to work. Hillson sued, and the court awarded him his job back plus back pay to January 2004. The court said few employees would be willing to chance loss of their employment and seniority by running for political office if all they could expect upon their return was an opportunity to negotiate a severance package. Hillson, who found a job with a private law firm in Saskatoon that pays a base salary of $52,000, said he wasn’t sure if he’d return to the Legal Aid Commission where his salary would be closer to $100,000.

Travel agent laid off during pregnancy

Vancouver — A travel agent who was laid off after she announced she was pregnant and planned to take maternity leave was awarded $2,500 for injury to her dignity and self respect by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. When Corene Dance announced she was pregnant, Anza Travel Ltd. stripped her of her monthly team-leader bonus, then laid her off just two weeks before her maternity leave started.

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