LRB: Can’t Refuse Dangerous Work that’s Inherent to the Workplace

Workers at a prison refused to work because they didn’t believe officials took the threat of a “zip gun” in the jail seriously enough. An MOL inspector investigated and concluded that they didn’t have a right to refuse because of a situation that was “a normal condition” of their employment in a prison. But the workers continued their refusal. The Labour Relations Board dismissed the complaint, noting that for particular classes of workers, such as police officers, firefighters and corrections officers, the right to refuse was limited because of the dangers inherent in those jobs. And the possibility of a home-made weapon in a prison was inherent in that workplace [Dowling v. Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, [2012] CanLII 81181 (ON LRB), Dec. 13, 2012].