Civil Action Seeking Damages for Alleged Workplace Harassment is Statute-Barred

  • 12 novembre 2019
  • Giovanna Di Sauro

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (“WSIAT”) recently ruled that a worker was statute-barred from pursuing a civil action in respect of alleged workplace harassment. The WSIAT concluded that the civil action centered on a work-related injury, which fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the workers’ compensation benefits scheme.

In Decision No. 1227/19, the Worker was employed in the housekeeping department of the Employer, a large hotelier, since 2015. In February 2018, the Worker resigned from her employment after having been on medical leave. She subsequently filed an action in the Superior Court of Justice claiming damages for constructive dismissal, bullying, harassment and/or a poisoned work environment. Thereafter, the Employer applied to the WSIAT for a determination that the Worker’s civil action was barred by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”). The Employer brought this “right to sue” application even though the Worker had not claimed benefits from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.