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Driver accused of sexually harassing customer’s employee not entitled to EI benefits

by HR Law Canada

An appeal by a former driver, accused of sexual harassment, has been denied, leaving the dismissal and disqualification from Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in place, according to a ruling by the Social Security Tribunal of Canada Appeal Division.

The applicant, a driver who lost his job after allegedly harassing an employee of a customer, sought to appeal the General Division’s ruling, which had concluded his dismissal was due to misconduct.

He denied the allegations of sexual harassment and said the real reason he was let go was because he wanted a raise and a change in his routes.

The General Division found that the claimant’s behaviour on his delivery route constituted harassment, supporting the employer’s decision to terminate his employment.

“The General Division found that the Claimant lost his job because he was harassing a customer’s employee,” the decision reads, emphasizing that the claimant had received prior warnings regarding such conduct.

The applicant failed to provide grounds for his appeal by the extended deadline of Dec. 5, 2023, a factor contributing to the denial of his request for leave to appeal. According to the ruling, “the General Division gave more weight to the employer’s evidence,” which included a complaint from a customer and subsequent police involvement.

Section 58(1) of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act outlines specific grounds for appeal, none of which the claimant convincingly established in his application. The decision notes, “The General Division must decide the issue before it based on the evidence presented by the parties,” and further adds, “The evidence shows that the Claimant knew that harassment was unacceptable.”

Ultimately, the decision to refuse the appeal was based on the assessment that the claimant’s arguments did not demonstrate a reasonable chance of success.

“After reviewing the appeal file and the General Division’s decision as well as considering the Claimant’s arguments in support of his request for leave to appeal, I have no choice but to find that the appeal has no reasonable chance of success,” the decision concludes.

The refusal to grant leave means that the claimant’s appeal will not proceed, upholding the initial findings of the General Division regarding his misconduct and the consequent loss of his job and EI benefits.

For more information, see VR v Canada Employment Insurance Commission, 2024 SST 15 (CanLII).

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