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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Farm labourer's "get a motel" constructive dismissal claim dismissed

Mark Isnor had been an employee of the Ueffing Farms Limited from June 22, 1997 to November 2, 2009, as a farm labourer and performed many varied tasks on the company’s hog farm in Canning, Nova Scotia.  Before a labour tribunal hearing, Isnor testified that in early September of 2009, there were two new employees who were hugging and kissing in the barn. He testified he did not say anything to the owners of the business although he did not believe it was appropriate behaviour for employees in the workplace. He testified this activity of hugging and kissing by the two young people went on 2 to 3 times a day, however, on cross-examination he restated and said the activity was frequent, but may not have been that often.

Isnor further testified that he did speak to the couple to say they should get a motel if they were going to do that activity. He testified this behaviour did not bother his work and he did not consider it a major concern other than he thought it was inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and told Donald Ueffing, an owner of the employer company, that it should stop.

Isnor quit his employment and then made a complaint to the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Tribunal in the form of a constructive dismissal claim (i.e. that his work environment had been allowed to become so poisoned that he had no choice but to leave his employment, as if he had been wrongfully dismissed).  The Tribunal dismissed the claim:
The Tribunal finds on the balance of probabilities from hearing the evidence and the testimony, and review of the exhibits, the Complainant quit his employment on November 2, 2009, and there has been no substantive evidence presented by the Complainant to show the workplace environment was so poisoned or destructive that was not remedied by the Respondent, such that he could not do his work. Accordingly, the Tribunal finds without some corroboration of the Complainant’s testimony, which did not occur at this hearing, there is no substantive evidence to support a claim for constructive dismissal from the evidence presented.
Read the decision at: Isnor v. Ueffing Farms Limited.