Edmonton nursing assistant fired for inappropriate sexual comments

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has upheld the firing of a nursing assistant who made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to male patients
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Lorna Wright was a nursing assistant at General Hospital in Edmonton. Her employment was terminated on Aug. 28, 2003, after two patients complained that she was making them the subject of mild sexual humour while attending to them. (It was unclear from the court documents exactly what Wright said to the two male patients who complained.)

An arbitration board upheld the hospital’s decision to terminate her employment. The board said it decided not to reinstate Wright because her conduct and evidence throughout the hearing led to a breakdown in the employment relationship.

It was her lack of recognition of the inappropriateness of the alleged behaviour in the circumstances in which she worked which led to a concern that it might be repeated and thus increase the risk of harm to a vulnerable population — dying men in palliative care.