April 14, 2004by Israel Foulon LLP
Question: A co-worker took a stress test. The manager informed him that if it came back negative he would be fired. Is that allowed?
As discussed above, employers have a duty not to discriminate against employees on the basis of certain prohibited grounds of discrimination. Disability is a prohibited ground of discrimination and it is against human rights statutes to discriminate on this basis. Both physical and mental disability are specified as prohibited grounds.
Nervous depression occasioned by job stress has been found to constitute a disability under the Canada Human Rights Act. If your co-worker suffers from work-related stress, the employer may have an obligation to accommodate him up to the point of undue hardship.
If medically required this may include reducing his responsibilities or his schedule. The employer does not have the right to unilaterally terminate your co-worker’s employment based purely on the fact he failed a stress test.
Peter Israel is the senior partner in the Toronto law firm of Israel Foulon LLP – Employment and Labour Lawyers. He can be reached at 416-640-1550 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A version of this article originally appeared in the Carswell publication, Canadian Employment Law Today