Case Report – Leak of information side-tracks STD adjudication claim

6 Apr

On January 31, Arbitrator Devlin upheld a grievance which claimed an improper denial of short-term disability benefits and awarded $5,000 for the manner in which the employer (together with its third-party adjudicator) denied the benefit.

The main problem with the benefits decision was that it relied on a finding that the grievor was not eligible because her condition (an episode of siutational depression) was caused by her husband’s terminal illness.  The grievor gave this information to the employer in an informal telephone conversation at the start of her absence, and the employer forwarded it to the adjudicator in an “employee profile” form.  Ms. Devlin found the underlying reason for the grievor’s absence was not a relevant factor in the claim, which was otherwise justified.  She held that there was evidence the improper denial caused the grievor additional stress and awarded $5,000 in damages.

Hamilton Health Sciences and Ontario Nurses Association (Re), [2008] O.L.A.A. No. 103 (Devlin).

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