The medical certificate: ask for details, if necessary

Release date: May 1st, 2014

A machine operator challenged his dismissal for excessive absenteeism, following a number of disciplinary measures and awareness raising meetings. On April 28 and 29, the employee was absent and handed the employer a medical certificate, which contained no diagnosis or explanation regarding any hospitalization. On June 19, the employee was again absent and submitted a medical certificate, with no diagnosis, from his attending physician, which led to his dismissal. According to the arbitrator, the employer was apparently satisfied with the initial medical certificate, since he never asked the employee to specify the nature of his stay in the hospital and did not contact the physician to obtain additional information. As for the absence on June 19, a simple call from the employer to the attending physician might have dispelled any doubt regarding whether the absence was justified. Since the employee’s absences were justified, the employer could not use them as justification to terminate his employment. Reinstatement of the employee is ordered.

Unifor, Local 250 v. White Birch Papers, Stadacona division (Mr. Pomerleau) 2014EXPT-177, DTE 2014T-71 (T.A.) Me Denis Provençal

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