By Adrian Miedema
A federal adjudicator has decided that an armoured car worker was not justified in refusing to do a “run” at a mall because of the crowds during the Christmas shopping season.
The employee claimed that due to crowds, he was unable to maintain a “21 foot perimeter” when he went into the mall, crowded with Christmas shoppers, and that that put him at increased risk of a robbery. He therefore argued that under the Canada Labour Code, he was justified in refusing to work.
The adjudicator rejected the employee’s argument, finding that the evidence had not proven that there were serious crowds at the mall in the morning when he did the “run”. Further, there had not been a robbery at the particular shopping centre in the last 10 years. The adjudicator concluded that the employee was not exposed to an imminent or serious threat to his life or health. Therefore his work refusal was not justified.
Adrian Miedema is a partner in the Toronto Employment Group of Dentons Canada LLP. He advises and represents public- and private-sector employers in employment, health and safety and human rights matters. He appears before employment tribunals and all levels of the Ontario courts on behalf of employers. He also advises employers on strategic and risk management considerations in employment policy and contracts. For more information, visit www.dentons.com or www.occupationalhealthandsafetylaw.com.