WSIAT Decision No. 2586/16
The Employer’s appeal of the allowance of Loss of Earnings (LOE) benefits during a period of disciplinary suspension was granted by the Tribunal. The case involved an electrical technician who was injured during an equipment repair activity due to failure to follow lock-out policy. Due to the violation of the company’s formal policy and the nature of the violation (safety), the worker was given a 10-day unpaid suspension which he served after having returned to work in a modified duties capacity. The WSIB allowed full LOE benefits during the suspension on the basis that the worker required modified duties and by executing the suspension the company had, in effect, removed the offer of modified work.
The Panel found that the employer had a formal lock-out policy which the worker was familiar with, had been trained on, and which the company enforced. The Panel also was satisfied that the company had followed the provisions of a collective agreement and progressive discipline policy in making its disciplinary decision which the worker/union did not grieve.
This decision is important to employers in its conclusion that the WSIA legislative scheme was “never intended to limit an employer’s ability to discipline a worker for breached of company policy or conditions of employment that happen to result in injury.” [para. 28]