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Disability and Dismissal

Expert: Ken Krupat

Bill asked:

My employer fired me a few days after returning to work from compensation. I told my employer I was ill and would be returning to the doctor and seeking further medical help and possibly more compensation. Later that day my employer wrote a cheque for severance and had his secretary give me the cheque and a note saying my services were no longer needed. I was dumfounded to say the least.

Now 4 months later I have found out I was ill because I have MS. Is there a way to have my insurance reinstated so that I am covered for disability if it becomes impossible for me to return to the workplace?

Ken Krupat answered:

It is not clear from your question whether you were returning from workers" compensation or from workplace disability benefits. If it was workers" compensation, then employers are prohibited from terminating the employment of workers returning from compensation for 6 months - unless they can clearly demonstrate that the termination was not related to the workplace injury. If this is your situation, the you can file a claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board demanding reinstatement to work (and of course full benefits).

If the visitor was returning from disability benefits, you may also have a claim--both for disability benefits and for wrongful dismissal.

We would need to know how long you were employed, the type of position, what type of package, if any, you were provided at termination. All of this would assist us in deciding whether there was a claim for more compensation or benefits.

If for example, you had been there for more than 5 or 6 years, you have been entitled to more than 4 months" notice of dismissal or pay instead of notice. That could mean that the disability would have occurred during the notice period--and you would have a claim for benefits.

It seems to me you will need to discuss your situation with a lawyer to try to decide on the best course of action. I would suggest ensuring that it is a lawyer who practises only employment and labour law--rather than a "general practitioner." This type of lawyer will know the law and will be able to provide answers fairly quickly as to the chances of success.

About the author

Ken Krupat is a labour and employment law lawyer at Lang Michener, a firm specializing in business law, with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. View their website at:

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