Home Arbitration/Labour Relations Manitoba Labour Board tosses wrongful dismissal case filed under workplace safety regime

Manitoba Labour Board tosses wrongful dismissal case filed under workplace safety regime

by HR Law Canada

In a recent decision, the Manitoba Labour Board ruled on an appeal filed by MH, who claimed wrongful dismissal from his employment.

The appellant alleged that the employer failed to conduct a proper investigation and that his termination was unjustified. However, the Board confirmed the decision of the Director of Workplace Safety and Health, stating that no breach of the Act had been alleged.

The dispute originated when MH contacted the Workplace Safety and Health Branch of the Department of Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services in October 2020, asserting his claim of wrongful dismissal.

Outside jurisdiction, absent reprisal under act

The Branch informed MH that wrongful dismissal falls outside the scope of their jurisdiction unless it constitutes a reprisal under the Act.

Despite repeated attempts to seek clarification from MH, he maintained that he had been wrongfully dismissed.

On July 12, 2022, a Safety and Health Officer dismissed MH’s reprisal complaint against the employer, concluding that it did not meet the criteria outlined in section 42(1) of Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Act.

MH subsequently appealed the decision to the Director of Workplace Safety and Health, who upheld the dismissal and highlighted that MH failed to provide any evidence of engaging in protected actions under the Act.

Worker appeals ruling

Undeterred, MH filed an appeal with the Manitoba Labour Board on Oct. 18, 2022. However, the Director and the employer, represented by their respective counsels, argued that the Board lacked jurisdiction since MH’s complaint did not pertain to reprisal.

The employer further contended that MH had already settled a civil action, filed a Notice of Discontinuance, and executed a release of all demands related to the wrongful dismissal claim.

During the hearing held on March 23, 2023, the Board considered the arguments presented. The Director and the employer reiterated that MH’s allegations did not fall under the purview of section 42 of the Act, while MH claimed procedural unfairness and requested a copy of the complaint that led to his dismissal.

However, the Board concluded that MH had not alleged any conduct by the employer that constituted reprisal as defined by the Act.

Moreover, the Board acknowledged that MH had signed a release that barred him from filing any further claims against the employer regarding his employment and termination. Although the Director was not a party to the release, it explicitly encompassed claims under the Act.

As a result, the Manitoba Labour Board dismissed MH’s appeal on April 25, 2023, affirming the Director’s decision and stating that no violation of the Act had been claimed.

For more information, see M.H. v Opportunities for Independence Inc., 2023 CanLII 54086 (MB LB)

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