Adrian Miedema

Adrian Miedema

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Company that “met or exceeded many industry standards in its operations” still found guilty of OHSA charges

Exceeding industry standards does not, on its own, protect employers from health and safety convictions or fines, a recent court decision shows. A roofing company was charged with two offences under the Ontario Occupational...more

4/15/2015 - Canada Construction Industry Construction Site Construction Workers OHSA Workplace Injury Workplace Safety

Manager was not a “competent person” to conduct harassment / violence investigation under Canada Labour Code: Court

The Federal Court has held that a manager was not a “competent person” to conduct a workplace harassment investigation under the Canada Labour Code because the employee who filed the complaint had not agreed that the manager...more

4/7/2015 - Canada Employer Liability Issues Harassment Impartiality Internal Investigations Managers

Aggravated damages awarded under OHSA for retaliatory firing

An employer has been ordered to pay aggravated damages – in addition to lost wages – after firing an employee in retaliation for raising safety issues. The employee worked at a hair salon. She suffered an injury at work as a...more

3/31/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Aggravated Damages Canada OHSA Retaliation Workplace Injury

OHSA does not protect against retaliation for merely sustaining injury: OLRB

The Occupational Health and Safety Act may protect employees against retaliation for asserting their rights under that Act, but not for merely sustaining an injury, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has decided....more

3/26/2015 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Canada OHSA

No punches thrown, but employee properly dismissed for yelling, swearing and abusive conduct

An employee need not physically assault a co-worker in order to be dismissed for workplace violence, an arbitrator’s decision shows. The employer had 8 “Golden Rules” of workplace health, safety and environmental...more

3/24/2015 - Arbitration Employment Policies Hiring & Firing Termination Workplace Violence

“Flagrant disregard” of OHSA, failure to report, gets construction company convicted on 5 OHSA charges

A construction company that tried to blame a worker’s fall on his untied boots, has been found guilty of all 5 charges against it under Saskatchewan’s The Occupational Health and Safety Act. The 18-year-old worker, who had...more

3/19/2015 - Canada Construction Industry Construction Project Construction Workers Employer Liability Issues OHSA Workplace Injury

OHSA charges were adequately particularized, court finds: disclosure showed violations Crown intended to prove

A judge has rejected an employer’s argument that Occupational Health and Safety Act charges against it were unclear and that the Crown was required to provide further “particulars” of the charges so the employer could defend...more

3/16/2015 - Canada Contractors Electricity OHSA Workplace Injury Wrongful Death

“Who is a supervisor?” Ontario Ministry of Labour releases guideline

Employers often struggle with the question of who is a “supervisor” under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. The answer to that question is obviously important because supervisors have legal duties under the...more

3/13/2015 - Canada Employer Liability Issues OHSA Supervisors

Constructor made mistake of law, not fact: convicted of OHSA charge

A constructor that argued the “mistake of fact” due diligence defence was instead found to have made a “mistake of law” and was convicted of a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act....more

3/3/2015 - Canada Construction Contracts Construction Workers General Contractors OHSA Workplace Injury

Mere posting of standard operating procedure was not enough: OLRB refuses to suspend MOL inspector’s training order

Employers often post new procedures in the workplace without providing formal training.  A recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board suggests that for some work procedures, posting is not enough; rather, training...more

2/26/2015 - Employer Liability Issues OHSA Safety Training Training Workplace Safety

Run over by shoplifter in parking lot, retail employee may sue employer and supervisor despite having WSIB coverage

A retail employee who helped pursue a shoplifter, in violation of the employer’s workplace violence policy, was not entitled to WSIB benefits and could sue the employer and a supervisor in the courts for her injury....more

2/24/2015 - Canada Parking Lots Retailers Workplace Injury Workplace Violence

Having an active joint health and safety committee can help employers defend against OHSA charges, court decision suggests

An Ontario court has dismissed charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after two incidents which the joint health and safety committee did not identify as posing a “high priority” safety concern....more

2/17/2015 - OHSA Ontario Workplace Injury Workplace Safety

“If you think your salary is low . . .”: employer’s presentation was “offensive, distasteful and inappropriate as a motivational...

An adjudicator has criticized an employer’s motivational presentation as “offensive, distasteful and inappropriate as a motivational tool”, but found that it was not illegal. The presentation was delivered by a Regional...more

2/12/2015 - Canada CBAs OHSA Unions

OHSA charges dismissed: not appropriate for MOL to charge under “general duty” clause where specific regulation addressed safety...

In dismissing Occupational Health and Safety Act charges against an employer arising out of a fatality, an Ontario court has held that it is not appropriate for the Ministry of Labour to charge under the “general duty clause”...more

2/10/2015 - Canada Ministry of Labour OHSA Wrongful Death

False assault allegation against supervisor was just cause for dismissal: video evidence was conclusive

An employee who filed a written complaint, falsely alleging that his supervisor deliberately ran into him with a sharp blow from his shoulder, was dismissed for cause, an arbitrator has held. Unfortunately for the employee,...more

2/5/2015 - Canada Hiring & Firing Video Recordings Workplace Violence

“Not the right fit”? Fired hours after MOL inspector’s visit, employee awarded $19,000 in damages

Employers who have bona fide reasons for dismissing an employee should avoid using “not the right fit”. They should also show up at Ontario Labour Relations Board hearings. An employer that dismissed an employee hours after a...more

2/3/2015 - Canada Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing OHSA Retaliation

Supervisor fined after workers exposed to asbestos dust

A supervisor with an asbestos abatement company, and his employer, have pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and were fined, after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site....more

1/29/2015 - Asbestos Canada Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions OHSA Workplace Hazards

Employer Who Voluntarily Complied with MOL Inspector’s Orders Was Not Entitled to Suspension of Orders Pending Appeal

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has held that where an employer had complied with a Ministry of Labour inspector’s compliance orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to the satisfaction of the MOL, the...more

1/27/2015 - Appeals Canada Employer Liability Issues Ministry of Labour OHSA

WSIB Age Cut-off for Loss-of-Earnings Benefits not Discriminatory Against Older Workers: Court

Ontario’s Divisional Court has decided that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act’s age cut-off for loss of earnings benefits for older workers did not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms....more

1/22/2015 - Canada Disability Benefits OHSA Workplace Safety

Where MOL Inspector Withdraws OHSA Compliance Order, OLRB Cannot Reinstate While Appeal Argued

Although an employer may appeal a Ministry of Labour inspector’s rescission (withdrawal) of a compliance order that he or she wrote to an employer under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Labour Relations...more

1/20/2015 - Canada Compliance Order Ministry of Labour OHSA

OLRB Agrees to Hear Another Harassment Case

The debate continues as to whether the Ontario Labour Relations Board has jurisdiction to hear harassment-reprisal complaints under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but another Vice-Chair of the OLRB has said “yes”....more

1/16/2015 - Employer Liability Issues Harassment OHSA OLRB Ontario

Two company directors jailed 25 days after worker dies, no safety training provided

Rarely are senior corporate officials jailed for health and safety offences in Canada.  But recently, two company directors of an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, were jailed for 25 days after a worker died...more

1/14/2015 - C-Suite Executives Canada Criminal Prosecution Directors Employer Liability Issues Furniture Industry OHSA Retailers Workplace Injury Wrongful Death

Persistent mockery, intimidation of supervisor was “juvenile and unworthy of a 12 year old”, warranted 6-month suspension of...

An employee’s persistent mockery and intimidating conduct towards a supervisor warranted a 6-month suspension, an arbitrator has held. The employee’s conduct included the following...more

12/19/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Arbitration Canada Willful Misconduct

Total fines now $1.24 million in Christmas Eve fatalities after swing stage company and director fined

The total of safety fines paid for the December 24, 2009 swing stage collapse fatalities is now $1,240,000 after Swing N Scaff Inc., the company that supplied the swing stage platform (a suspended work platform), was fined...more

12/17/2014 - Canada Construction Industry Wrongful Death

“It is not the Board’s role to chase” unrepresented employee: safety-reprisal complaint dismissed

The Canada Industrial Relations Board has dismissed a safety-reprisal complaint where the employee, representing himself, missed deadlines and failed to respond to CIRB correspondence. The employee filed a complaint...more

12/10/2014 - Canada Workplace Safety

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