Resources: Health + Safety

  • Terminating Post-Train Wreck?  Let’s Talk Training — Failure to Train Someone Other than Plaintiff Can Erode Just Cause for Dismissal

    July 2019

    by Mike Hamata

    Richard Tymko was discharged from employment when the train on which he was working as a switchman derailed in the internal rail yard of a pulp mill in northern British Columbia.  His employer, 4-D Warner Enterprises, terminated his employment because it alleged he failed to tell his co-worker, the trackmobile operator, to apply the train’s brakes and that caused the derailment.

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  • Advancing Unfounded Just Cause Defence Leads To Large Damages Award

    May 2019

    by Maggie Campbell

    The B.C. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bailey v. Service Corporation (Canada) ULC,  2018 BCSC 235 highlights the perils of advancing unfounded just cause allegations and a court’s willingness to sanction such conduct with substantial aggravated and punitive damages awards.

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  • Combative Conduct in the Workplace and the Duty to Inquire

    April 2019

    Tomasz Rutkowski, a unionized painter in the employer’s engineering department, filed a human rights complaint against his employer concerning its treatment of him in dealing with his mental disability.  In Rutkowski v. Westin Bayshore Hotel and another, 2018 BCHRT 235, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) dismissed the complaint.

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  • Safety v. Privacy: Finding the Balance with Video Surveillance

    March 2019

    Arbitrator Ken Saunders’ recent decision in Lafarge Canada Inc. v. Teamsters, Local Union No. 213 (In-Cab Camera Grievance), [2018] B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 51 (Saunders) is instructive for employers considering the use of video surveillance in their workplace.

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  • BC Court of Appeal Confirms High Standard for Mental Distress Damages

    January 2019

    by Julia Bell

    An employee who believes they have been wrongfully dismissed from their employment can seek damages in court for both the fact of their dismissal and the manner in which they were dismissed.  In Cottrill v. Utopia Day Spas and Salons Ltd., 2018 BCCA 383, the Court of Appeal affirmed that there remains a high threshold in British Columbia for plaintiffs seeking mental distress damages.

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  • An Employer’s Duty to Provide a Discrimination-Free Workplace

    November 2018

    by Brandon Hillis

    A recent B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision serves to remind employers of their duty to provide a discrimination-free workplace.

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  • Tailored Pre-Employment Testing Given the Green Light

    October 2018

    by Michael R. Kilgallin

    In BC Hydro and Power Authority -and- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 258 (Arbitrator John Hall) (May 23, 2018), the employer implemented a pre-employment drug and alcohol testing requirement for new applicants applying for safety-sensitive positions under the hiring hall provision of the collective agreement.

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  • Post-Incident Drug Testing Policies in the Age of Cannabis

    September 2018

    by Mike Hamata

    What do low speed collisions, marijuana, and post-incident drug testing have in common?  Those are the facts that were before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Canadian Energy Workers’ Association v ATCO Electric Ltd, 2018 ABQB 258.

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  • Failing a Breathalyzer Test in a Company Vehicle: Just Cause for Dismissal?

    June 2018

    by Jennifer S. Russell

    The B.C. Supreme Court recently determined in Klonteig v. District of West Kelowna, 2018 BCSC 124 that an assistant fire chief was wrongfully dismissed when his employer terminated his employment after he failed two breathalyzer tests while driving his employer’s vehicle.

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  • Dealing With Employees Who Deny Unfitness To Work

    March 2018

    by Michael Wagner

    A roadmap for dealing with disabled employees who are unfit for active employment, but who deny being unfit, is detailed in Kelfor Industries Ltd. v. United Steelworkers, Local 2009 ([Grievor] Medical Leave and Termination Grievances) (November 21, 2017 – unreported at time of writing) (Lanyon).

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