Employer not to blame for employee’s mental breakdown

Work can cause a lot of stress but employer’s actions must be extreme and calculated for courts to award compensation
By Daniel Lublin
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Mental suffering at work may be real — but that doesn’t necessarily amount to a successful lawsuit.

Having just been denied a promotion at work, Maria Amaral was crestfallen. As an employee of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency for 23 years, Amaral thought she should have been promoted to manager. But her boss, Caroline Rioux, thought otherwise. Shortly after the failed promotion attempt, Amaral was disciplined for refusing a directive to write a letter.

Dejected, Amaral let her performance suffer and her attendance dropped. Rioux warned her to shape up and eventually the agency relieved Amaral of some of her duties. However, her absenteeism and job performance worsened. The agency placed her on probation and planned for her eventual dismissal.