Cop’s dismissal due to job, not disability: Court

Finding of discrimination overturned; inability to do job a primary factor for police
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/20/2013

The dismissal of an Alberta police constable following back injuries and depression wasn’t discriminatory and was based on his inability to do police work, the Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled.

The constable was hired by the Lethbridge, Alta., police service in April 2005 and began a probationary period that was to last 18 months, as was standard for all new Alberta police officers under the province’s Police Service Regulation. Six months later, in October 2005, the constable suffered a hernia and had to undergo surgery. The police service proposed modified desk duties while he healed, but the constable refused because he didn’t want to sit behind a desk at work. Instead, he worked on his rehabilitation at home.

The constable returned in January 2006 and had to make up ground he had lost to other recruits who had started at the same time. Two months later, he hurt his back lifting an intoxicated individual into a police car and eventually filed a workers’ compensation claim.