Employer Entitled to Better Doctor’s Note Before Letting Worker Return to Work

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A grain terminal worker left work ill and went to the hospital. He filed a workers’ comp claim for his illness, saying it was the result of a toxic allergic reaction to grain dust. His claim was rejected. The worker gave his employer a two-line doctor’s note that said he could return to work. The employer asked for a more complete note before it would let him return. So the worker filed an unjust dismissal complaint. The court found that the employer was entitled to ask for a more substantive medical note. The doctor’s note lacked any explanation as to why the worker was now fit to safely return to work. After all, he’d been hospitalized for two weeks and was out of work for six months. And the rejection of his worker’s comp claim didn’t preclude the employer from asking for more information. So there was no basis for concluding that the employer had constructively dismissed him, found the court [Donaldson v. Western Grain By-Products Storage Ltd., [2015] FCA 62 (CanLII), March 4, 2015].