Worker’s extended sick leave wasn’t permanent, court rules

Employee went on disability for a year but indicated intention to return
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A worker’s extended absence from work did not breach her employment contract and her employer did not have just cause to dismiss her, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has ruled.

Terry Ann Wilmot, 38, was an administrative assistant for Ulnooweg Development Group Incorporated, a lender and consultant company for aboriginal businesses based in Truro, N.S. During her 12 years of employment with Ulnooweg, she was considered to be a good, hard-working employee who made a significant contribution to the business and had never been disciplined for any misconduct.

In May 2002, Wilmot began taking long absences from work due to emotional problems. She was able to use accumulated sick leave credits until April 2003 and took an unpaid leave of absence after that. She had an agreement with the company that she would inform it in June 2003 when she expected to return to work.