Employee’s right to maternity leave absolute

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Lisa Allen was a dental hygienist with Dr. Jeffrey Weaver. While on maternity leave her employment was terminated. Ms. Allen filed a claim under the Ontario Employment Standards Act seeking compensation for this termination.

An employment standards officer investigated the matter but decided not to issue an order to pay. The officer was not satisfied that Ms. Allen had lost her employment because she had exercised her right to take a pregnancy and parental leave pursuant to the act. Ms. Allen brought an application to review the officer’s decision and the Ontario Labour Relations Board heard the matter.

Ms. Allen provided testimony at the hearing with respect to her employment history with Dr. Weaver. She had been hired in October 1997 as the only hygienist in the office and worked four days a week. She advised Dr. Weaver of her pregnancy early in her term, anticipating the need to be off early in the event of complications.