School caretaker swept out by alcohol addiction

You Make the Call
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/18/2018

This instalment of You Make the Call features a worker who was fired after violating a last-chance agreement related to the worker’s alcohol problems.

The worker was hired as a caretaker with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in 1996. She had no discipline on her record for 19 years until 2015, when she was in an abusive relationship and started abusing alcohol. Her alcohol abuse caused her frequent absences, leading to her missing almost 40 per cent of her shifts in 2015. Her attendance improved in 2016, though she still missed almost one-quarter of her shifts that year.

On Feb. 15, 2017, the TDSB met with the worker to discuss her problems, as at that point she had missed 87 per cent of her shifts since the beginning of January after she had reunited with her abusive partner. The worker agreed to enter a residential treatment facility for her alcohol addiction, but the TDSB didn’t receive documentation proving her treatment. Without the proof of treatment, it suspended the worker’s sick pay.