Collective Agreement Confers Duty of Care on Employer

|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/04/2011

Pushed into financial hardship and homelessness after her workers’ compensation claim was denied because of numerous employer errors, a postal worker grieved.

Beginning as a contractor in 2003, covering for sick days and vacations, J.S. became a post office employee three years later when she got her own route. While her route was officially rated at 5.38 hours, the actual time to complete the route could reach eight hours daily depending on seasonal mail volumes. However, J.S.’s real workload exceeded that by about 50 per cent because she continued to do her contract work on top of her regular route.

J.S.’s workload became an issue in 2007 when she claimed that she had become disabled by a work-related musculoskeletal disorder. She submitted a note from her doctor, which diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome, went on Injury on Duty Leave as provided for under the collective agreement and sought workers’ compensation.