Health-care worker fired for dirty joke

Breach of employer policy and public trust,
along with disciplinary history provided just cause for dismissal
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/25/2019
Personal care worker tried to get a resident to participate in a dirty joke
Credit: logoboom/Shutterstock

The dismissal of a Newfoundland and Labrador health-care worker for trying to get a long-term care resident to participate in a dirty joke has been upheld by an arbitrator.

The worker was employed as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and personal care attendant (PCA) at the Carbonear Long Term Care Centre operated by Eastern Health, the largest integrated health organization in Newfoundland and Labrador. She joined Eastern Health in 2009 as a permanent part-time employee and was licensed by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Eastern Health’s collective agreement with its union specified that “adverse reports” — written records of dissatisfaction with someone’s work performance — could not be used against an employee after 18 months without another instance of warning or reprimand elapsed.