Canadian Employment Law Today

November 8, 2017

Focuses on human resources law from a business perspective, featuring news and cases from the courts, in-depth articles on legal trends and insights from top employment lawyers across Canada.

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PM40065782 Emplo y ment Law Today Canadian November 8, 2017 First responder with PTSD wins appeal for benefits Traumatic events expected on the job, but court finds exception for PTSD cases BY JEFFREY R. SMITH A NEW BRUNSWICK first responder has won an appeal for workers' compensation after his initial claim for suffering post-trau- matic disorder (PTSD) was denied. Jacques Hébert worked as an ambulance attendant with Ambulance New Brunswick, the province's provider of air and land am- bulance services. As is often the case in such employment, Hébert encountered several horrible situations in the course of his job. By early 2014, the cumulative effect of Hébert's experiences on the job got to him and he had to take time off work. A psychol- ogist diagnosed him with PTSD and Hébert reported his condition to Ambulance New Brunswick on Jan. 20, 2015. He also filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits. e New Brunswick Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) denied his claim, finding the province's Worker's Compensation Act at the time stated that "disability caused by mental stress does not constitute compen- sable injury unless the disability is the result of an acute reaction to a traumatic event." e WHSCC also found that Hébert's condition was not the result of "an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected trau- matic event arising out of and in the course of employment," as required by its policy on mental stress compensation. e policy goes on to state that a traumatic event hap- pens when a person witnesses or experienc- es an event and responds with "intense fear, helplessness and horror," and there must be documentation of these factors. In addition, the policy indicates that traumatic events are usually excessive and not normal to stressors experienced by the average worker in such an occupation. No discrimination, just misunderstandings and miscommunication Company's only female truck driver experienced some differential treatment but it wasn't because of her sex or injury: Tribunal BY JEFFREY R. SMITH A MANITOBA-BASED transportation company treated its only female truck driv- er differentially and adversely at times, but this was due to many other factors and not her sex or disability, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled. Sandra Temple is a truck operator with 20 years of experience. In the winter of 2011 while she was living in Salmon Arm, B.C., she started working for Horizon International Distributors, a trucking company based in Winnipeg. Horizon specialized in the transportation of perishable and refriger- ated foods across Canada and employed two types of truck operators — those who drive the company's trucks (operator-employees) and those who own their own trucks and work for Horizon on a contract basis (own- er-operators). Temple owned her own truck and worked as an owner-operator. She was CREDIT: AFRICA STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK Trumped-up charge of workplace assault leads to unjust dismissal damages pg. 3 Employer relied on delayed incident report but didn't talk to employee Federal Court rules on first LMIA employer compliance case pg. 4 First decision on compliance in new regulatory regime emphasizes importance of documentation with Stuart Rudner OWNER-OPERATORS on page 6 » PTSD on page 7 » ASK AN EXPERT pg. 2 Employee's job duties being handed over to independent contractors

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