Worker’s firing following work refusals upheld

Attitude and reorganization were reasons for worker’s dismissal, not his work refusals and safety complaints: Court
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/16/2017

A Nova Scotia company has won an appeal to overturn a reinstatement order for an employee it said was fired for legitimate business reason, not the employee’s safety complaints and work refusals.

Herbert Jewers was a maintenance mechanic for DSM Nutritional Products, a supplier of vitamins and nutritional solutions in Mulgrave, N.S. He was hired in December 2012.

DSM took safety seriously and took multiple measures to ensure its workplace was as safe as possible. The company gathered statistics, studied best practices, compared results with its multi-national operations, and regularly updated safety policies and practices. Jewers and other employees were trained on company safety policies, which included a standard procedure on work refusals. If an employee refused work because of hazardous conditions, the employee was to fill out a form and discuss it with her supervisor and the joint occupational health and safety committee.