Employer failed to provide advice on entitlement to benefits

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Larsen v. Thames Valley District School Board (2002), 17 C.C.E.L. (3d) 41 (Ont. Div. Ct.)

An employer’s failure to provide an employee with advice regarding continuation of benefits within a reasonable period of time can result in a finding of negligence against the employer. In this case, the Ontario Divisional Court upheld a small-claims court judgment which found the plaintiff did have a cause of action based on the employer’s negligence in not providing advice regarding the employee’s entitlement to benefits upon her termination.

After an 11-year period of employment, the plaintiff sought workers’ compensation, a lightening of her duties and, subsequently, a leave of absence due to physical difficulties she had developed. Eventually, the plaintiff resigned although she later withdrew her resignation and retired instead. In light of her circumstances, the plaintiff went to the HR department in order to get information on continuing her benefits. The employer expressed confidence in providing her with a solution to the problem but no solution was arrived at on a timely basis.