Employee assaults co-worker, gets $25,000 and reinstatement

Employer failed to consider evidence of medical condition that may have played a role in violent incident in the workplace
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

Workplace violence is a serious concern for employers. It gets the attention of not only employees, but also authorities and sometimes the general public. Employers have an obligation to limit the potential for violent incidents in the workplace as much as possible, and this includes severe discipline for employees guilty of it. While dismissal can often be the solution, employers must keep in mind that — like any misconduct — any evidence pointing to a potential medical issue related to the misconduct — and potential need for accommodation — should be heeded.

A federal government department should have accommodated an employee with medical issues rather than firing him for committing a violent act in the workplace, the Canada Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has ruled.

Naim Rahmani was hired by Transport Canada in 2003 as a senior engineer in the Standards Branch, National Aircraft Certification, in that branch’s Electronic Equipment Design Assurance Section. He worked with clients looking to have their airplanes accredited so they could be authorized for use in Canada, examining the computer components of various elements of airplanes including the engines, fuselage, and flight controls.