Addiction still a disability months after nurse’s termination

Addiction diagnosed several months after dismissal, but employer should have had an inkling performance issues were caused by it: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/05/2014

An Ontario nurse who claimed an addiction disability after she was dismissed for unprofessional conduct has been reinstated.

Sartcia Pinsonneault was a registered nurse hired in 2007 by Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) in Hamilton. Early on in her tenure, she developed a conflict with some of her co-workers over her accusation of sexual assault against a co-worker’s husband. Eventually, things got to the point where Pinsonneault had to take a year off work for stress leave.

Pinsonneault returned in October 2010 and eventually found a position in the palliative care program. However, by early 2011 she was having performance issues, leading to a meeting on June 9 about deficient documentation for patient admissions. HHS developed a learning plan for her to improve her performance, but Pinsonneault failed to complete it. She also didn’t complete a nursing skills inventory as requested and failed to show up for a follow-up meeting.