Employee Properly Fired For Workplace Violence Threats, Despite His Mental Disability: Appeal Court
Monday, August 07, 2017 - Filed in: Court Cases
An employee's mental disability, unknown to his employer at the time of dismissal, played no role in the reason he was fired. He was fired because he made violent threats against coworkers, the Ontario Court of Appeal has held.
Although the employer had been accommodating of the employee's "various 'disabilities' he reported to them over time: his alcoholism, his thyroid and cardiac issues", the employer was unaware of his "mental disability" and did not engage in discriminatory conduct in firing him for workplace violence. The court stated, "They fired him as they would any employee who engaged in such workplace misconduct."
The Ontario Court of Appeal quoted the following statement of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in British Columbia (Public Service Agency) v. British Columbia Government and Services Employees' Union, 2008 BCCA 357 (CanLII) in which an alcoholic employee was fired for theft:
"I can find no suggestion in the evidence that Mr. Gooding's termination was arbitrary and based on preconceived ideas concerning his alcohol dependency. It was based on his conduct that rose to the level of crime. That his conduct might have been influenced by his alcohol dependency is irrelevant if that admitted dependency played no part in the employer's decision to terminate his employment and he suffered no impact for his misconduct greater than that another employee who suffered for the same misconduct."
Note: This a reprint of an article by Adrian Miedema of Dentons.