Home Featured Security guard, unable to fly during pandemic because of vaccine refusal, not entitled to EI: Tribunal

Security guard, unable to fly during pandemic because of vaccine refusal, not entitled to EI: Tribunal

by HR Law Canada

In a recent decision by the Social Security Tribunal of Canada, an appeal regarding Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was dismissed, with the Tribunal ruling that the appellant was disqualified from receiving benefits due to misconduct.

The decision sheds light on a case involving an employee who lost his job as a security guard at a remote worksite due to the federal government’s mandate for COVID-19 vaccination for airline travel.

The appellant, whose name remains undisclosed, argued that he did not voluntarily leave his job, but rather, his employer was compelled to let him go because he was unable to comply with the vaccination requirement. Prior to the implementation of the vaccination rule, the appellant had to fly in and out of the remote worksite for his shifts.

However, as he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, his employer informed him that he could no longer continue working under the new travel restrictions.

According to the appellant, on Nov. 29, 2021, he was about to leave the worksite and return home when he was summoned to the General Manager’s office.

There, he was presented with a note stating that he would not be returning to work due to his inability to board a plane in compliance with the COVID-19 policy. The appellant claims that he was asked to sign the note as proof of the reason for his departure.

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission, however, argued that the appellant voluntarily left his employment without just cause and thus was not eligible for EI benefits. The Commission alleged that the appellant had signed a resignation letter, indicating his own departure.

The Social Security Tribunal of Canada was tasked with determining whether the appellant had voluntarily left his job or if he had been dismissed by his employer. Additionally, it needed to establish whether the appellant lost his job due to misconduct.

After careful analysis of the evidence, the Tribunal concluded that the appellant did not voluntarily leave his job but was indeed dismissed by his employer. The Tribunal placed weight on the appellant’s consistent statements that he did not resign and provided credible testimony regarding the events leading up to his dismissal.

Regarding the issue of misconduct, the Tribunal considered relevant case law and legal principles. It found that the appellant’s dismissal was a result of his deliberate non-compliance with the government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. The appellant was aware of the new rules and the consequences of not being vaccinated, as the employer had clearly communicated the situation to all employees.

Consequently, the Social Security Tribunal dismissed the appeal and determined that the appellant was disqualified from receiving EI benefits due to misconduct.

This decision highlights the interplay between employment circumstances, government regulations, and individual responsibilities in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, see BH v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2023 SST 237 (CanLII)

You may also like

About Us

HR Law Canada is dedicated to covering labour and employment news for lawyers, HR professionals and employers. Published by North Wall Media.