Sawmill worker felled for excessive absenteeism

Ailments related to several hernia-related operations led to absences much higher than the plant average over employee's career
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/12/2014

This instalment of You Make the Call features a worker who was dismissed for excessive absenteeism.

Gordon Winsor, 47, began working for Tolko Industries, a logging company that ran a sawmill in High Level, Alta., in 2003.

During his employment with Tolko, Winsor had some health problems, primarily stemming from seven hernia-related operations he had between 1994 and 2008. These operations led to multiple absences while receiving short-term disability (STD) benefits as well as workers’ compensation benefits. Between 2003 and 2008, Winsor was on STD six times and workers’ compensation benefits three times. The operations resulted in medical restrictions that led to his requiring accommodation.