Teacher waits too long to fight denial of bereavement leave

Board's refusal of request was clear and unequivocal but teacher continued to hope board would change its mind
|Canadian Employment Law Today

An Alberta teacher’s claim for personal leave to attend a memorial service has been rejected by an arbitration board because she waited too long to file a grievance, though her complaint had merit.

Leanne Jacobson began working for Alberta’s Wild Rose School Division near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., in September 2006. Shortly after she began work, Jacobson asked her school principal for four days’ bereavement leave under the collective agreement to attend a memorial service for her grandfather in Prince Edward Island in November 2006. She had been unable to travel to the funeral when he died in December 2005.

The principal said he wasn’t sure if the memorial service qualified for paid leave and said he would bring it up at an administrative meeting, though she would be able to take the time off at any rate. Later, the principal informed her that her request for bereavement leave had been denied but it was still fine for her to take personal leave for those days. Jacobson filled out a personal leave application form but still hoped for paid leave.