Delayed doctor’s note saves employee from firing

Employee dismissed for going over sick day threshold; provided doctor's note 3 months later
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/31/2012

A Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) employee who was fired for taking too many sick days has been reinstated by an Ontario arbitrator.

Wayne Nichols was a part-time usher for MLSE at its entertainment venues, hired in 1994. He also had a full-time job and worked MLSE events — such as sport games and concerts — by signing up for them. Sometimes employees were required to work certain events and the collective agreement stated that if an employee was absent for more than 10 per cent of his scheduled working days in a year, the employee would be deemed terminated. Absences where an employee provided a doctor’s note would be excluded from this calculation.

On Jan. 19, 2011, midway through the 2010-2011 season, MLSE sent Nichols a letter warning him that his absence percentage was 7.69 per cent and he should be careful not to reach the policy threshold. However, by the end of the season, Nichols’ absences equaled 10.34 per cent of his working days.