Depressed employee’s resignation upheld

Employee claimed resignation was impulsive and caused by mental illness but his actions showed a clear thought process
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/20/2016

An arbitrator has denied an Ontario worker’s claim that stress and depression caused him to resign and he should get his job back.

The 40-year-old worker was a professional engineer for Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a utilities company. OPG recruited the workeri out of university in 1999 after he completed a Masters degree in engineering. He worked without any major problems until Jan. 1, 2010, when he went on sick leave.

The worker’s sick leave was due to severe mental stress and depression from which he was suffering at the time. His condition became unmanageable when his marriage broke up, necessitating the sick leave. He collected long-term disability (LTD) benefits from OPG’s insurer, Great-West Life (GWL). The benefits were dependent on the worker maintaining his status as an OPG employee. In addition, the worker had to remain under continuing treatment by a physician or certified psychiatrist to continue receiving LTD benefits.