Negligent misrepresentation by employer leads to 40 months’ LTD benefits

Employer’s benefits brochure didn’t reflect reality when newly-hired employee’s medical condition worsened
By Ronald Minken
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

A British Columbia company must pay more than $90,000 to an employee with a medical condition for misrepresenting its long-term disability (LTD) benefits before the employee accepted a job with it, the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled.

At the age of nine, the employee, Cary Feldstein, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Due to his condition, Feldstein would not accept employment unless it offered “sufficient and appropriate LTD benefits,” which were not conditional on the absence of any pre-existing health conditions.

Feldstein was terminated from his previous employer with six months’ working notice and immediately began looking for new work. During this time, he obtained an interview with Vancouver tech company 364 Northern Development Corp., which led to a second interview. During the second interview, Feldstein informed the company of his cystic fibrosis condition and inquired whether it offered employee benefits, requesting a brochure outlining such benefits. The company eventually provided Feldstein with a booklet outlining the employee benefits, following which Feldstein asked a few questions including what constituted “proof of good health” with respect to LTD benefits. 364 Development Corp. informed Feldstein that “proof of good health” was related to the three-month waiting period needed in order to have the plan in effect.” Relying upon this representation, Feldstein accepted employment with 364 Development Corp.