Workers Can’t Sue for Damages from Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke

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Approximately 235 workers filed grievances for having been exposed to second-hand smoke in their workplaces. The union asked the Grievance Settlement Board to declare that the employer had violated the health and safety article of the collective agreement and impose damages for this violation. But the Board ruled that it can’t award damages for injuries or occupational diseases covered by workers’ comp. It explained that even though some of the workers hadn’t filed workers’ comp claims, the bar against lawsuits still applied if the injury or illness would be compensable under workers’ comp [Ontario Public Service Employees Union v. Ontario, [2010] CanLII 28621 (ON G.S.B.), April 29, 2010].