Firing of employee on medical leave upheld

One-day trial for return to work confirmed ongoing performance issues were still present
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/16/2017

An employee who claimed discrimination after being fired while on medical leave has had her complaint dismissed by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

In the fall of 2014, Charlotte Whitmore applied for the position of medical office assistant for a doctor who had been using the assistant of another doctor renting office space from him. When the other doctor decided to move his practice and take the existing assistant with him, the original doctor had an opening.

Whitmore was hired on Oct. 22, 2014, with the existing assistant agreeing to train her for two months before leaving, as Whitmore had just completed medical office assistant training at college and hadn’t done the job before. The position included patient scheduling, patient reception, billing, maintaining the electronic medical record system (Plexia), dealing with operational issues, and general administrative support. The job also involved co-ordinating with other clinics where the doctor worked outside of his primary office.