Workplace injury ends with termination

Court sees bad faith in employer’s attempts to thwart employee’s claim for compensation benefits
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Isaac Youkhanna was employed as a welder with Spina’s Steel Workers Co. Ltd. On Oct. 19, 1999, he was assisting his supervisor, Rudy Simone, to lift some angle bolts when he felt sudden severe pain in his low back. Mr. Youkhanna went to the lunchroom to rest for a while. While he was resting, Mr. Simone asked Mr. Youkhanna not to claim compensation because it would be bad for the company’s record.

After resting for a bit, the pain did not let up and Mr. Youkhanna went home. He stayed at home for a few days to recovery from his injury. At no time other than the discussion in the lunchroom did his employer raise the issue of compensation.

On Oct. 25, 1999, Mr. Youkhanna was dismissed by Spina’s. As a result of his dismissal Mr. Youkhanna brought an action for wrongful dismissal against Spina’s. Spina’s took the position that Mr. Youkhanna was not fired but only temporarily laid off indefinitely for economic reasons.