Home Featured Warehouse worker, fired after accident involving machine he wasn’t trained or authorized to operate, not entitled to EI benefits: Tribunal

Warehouse worker, fired after accident involving machine he wasn’t trained or authorized to operate, not entitled to EI benefits: Tribunal

by HR Law Canada

A warehouse worker who operated a reach machine, without proper authorization or training, and was involved in an accident that caused damage is not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits after he was fired, a tribunal has ruled.

The Social Security Tribunal of Canada Appeal Division upheld an earlier decision that disqualified the worker, M.A., from receiving EI.

M.A. initially applied for EI regular benefits after ceasing employment but was denied by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission due to his dismissal for alleged misconduct. The General Division supported this decision.

The Division noted, “Because he was dismissed due to his own misconduct, he was not entitled to get EI regular benefits.”

The claimant sought to challenge the General Division’s verdict, claiming an error of jurisdiction and arguing that his dismissal was a result of workplace harassment leading to the accident.

In the summary of his main arguments, M.A. said the employer was negligent for not resolving the problem which led to the accident and dismissal. He also mentioned the significant personal hardships he faced, including financial strain and health issues, as a 61-year-old cancer patient.

However, the Appeal Division dismissed these arguments, maintaining that the focus of the inquiry was correctly placed on M.A.’s conduct rather than the employer’s. The Division reiterated that misconduct, defined by the Federal Court of Appeal as a wilful act or omission jeopardizing employment, was the correct criterion for determining eligibility for EI benefits.

“The General Division correctly decided that it wasn’t within its jurisdiction to focus on the employer’s conduct,” the ruling stated, emphasizing the employee’s responsibility in the matter.

The ruling further elaborated that there was no reasonable basis to conclude that the General Division made a jurisdictional error. It supported its decision with references to relevant case law, stating, “The General Division’s conclusion was consistent with the case law from the Court.”

Additionally, the Division addressed the claimant’s arguments regarding the settlement with his employer and the claim of unjust dismissal, determining that these did not influence the fundamental issue of misconduct. “

The existence of the minutes of settlement is not determinative of the issue of misconduct,” the decision affirmed.

In conclusion, the Division found no substantial grounds for appeal, emphasizing that “the Appeal Division’s mandate is limited to determining if the General Division made a specific type of error.” Consequently, M.A.’s request for appeal was refused, and the decision not to grant him EI benefits was upheld.

For more information, see MA v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2023 SST 1416 (CanLII).

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