Employer changed requirements for time off without informing workers

Employees' leave wasn't approved, despite following the same procedure as previous approved requests
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The Canadian Public Service Labour Relations Board has ruled a government department didn’t inform its employees of a change in paid leave policy after an employee was forced to use sick leave credits to go to a dental appointment during work hours despite not having to do so previously.

Sylvain Dubé, an employee for the Department of National Defence (DND) in Valcartier, Que., requested leave for a routine dental appointment on March 9, 2004. His supervisor denied the leave, saying the appointment should be made outside of working hours or Dubé would have to use sick leave credits to take the time off.

Dubé was surprised because he and his co-workers had been granted time off for dental appointments in the past and requiring appointments to be made outside of working hours hadn’t been raised before. The paid leave policy stated it was the DND’s practice to provide leave for medical or dental appointments for a specific problem or regular checkups, though the Civilian Personnel Administrative Order (CPAO) specified leave for appointments was at “management’s discretion” if the employee had already tried to schedule the appointment outside of working hours. The CPAO also stipulated absences of more than a half-day had to be covered by sick leave, vacation leave, unpaid leave or making up the time.