Employee’s right to refuse work highlighted in Ontario transit worker case

Physical conduct with supervisor not considered dangerous condition by tribunal
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/31/2019
City Bus
An Ottawa bus driver was not in danger on the job, according to a recent tribunal decision in Ontario. Songquan Deng (Shutterstock)

An Ottawa transit worker’s unhappiness with how his employer handled his harassment complaint did not mean he was in danger in the workplace, the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal has ruled.

In Hassan v. City of Ottawa (OC Transpo), 2019 TSSTC 8 (Can. Occ. Health & Safety Trib.), Abdulkadir Hassan was employed with the City of Ottawa as a bus driver at the city’s transit agency, OC Transpo. On Oct. 14, 2017, Hassan’s bus was parked at a station when an OC Transpo mobile supervisor told him the control centre was trying to contact him to assign a route. The supervisor was standing outside the bus doors as they discussed the matter.

Hassan stood up from his driver’s seat and tried to walk off the bus toward the supervisor, but the supervisor put his hand up and held him, then pushed him back while saying, “Go and do your run.” Hassan asked the supervisor why he had touched and pushed him, and the supervisor explained he hadn’t meant to and apologized.