Legal briefs

Does WCB cover wrongful dismissal?; CP Rail worker who soiled his pants fired

Does WCB cover wrongful dismissal?

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia Supreme Court recently tackled the question of whether wrongful dismissal is an accident that is compensable under workers’ compensation. It’s answer? No. The case involved Joanne Logan, a woman who was fired suddenly and without cause from long-term employment. She settled with her employer for $96,000, including $21,000 for pain and suffering. She then filed for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming she had been psychologically traumatized by the firing. Her claim was rejected and she appealed. The court rejected the appeal, but conceded the wording of the legislation could be interpreted to cover wrongful dismissal. “The (workers’ compensation act) says that the term ‘accident’ includes stress arising from an ‘acute reaction to a traumatic event.’ Being summarily and wrongfully dismissed from long-term employment … could certainly be described in everyday language as a traumatic event.” But the court said if the law is looked at in terms of its “context and purpose,” it was clear that being fired was not a compensable injury for workers’ compensation purposes.

CP Rail worker who soiled his pants fired

MONTREAL — CP Rail was justified in firing a worker who allegedly soiled his pants on purpose in an attempt to frustrate an investigation into his wrongdoing, an arbitrator has ruled. The worker had been disciplined for attempting to remove motor oil without permission for his own personal use. A hearing into his wrongdoing began at 8:50 a.m. There was a 15-minute break at 10:10 a.m. and a 12-minute break at 10:57 a.m. Shortly after noon, the worker peed his pants and the investigation was adjourned. The worker was later asked if he had a medical condition that might explain his actions, and he said no. The arbitrator said it defied logic and common sense that an adult would deliberately soil himself. But it also defied logic that the worker wouldn’t simply get up and excuse himself if he urgently had to go to the bathroom. The worker had been in such hearings before and was aware that leaving would not cause any problems.

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