Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1011 20
B. Kalvin - C. Sacco - Z. Agnidis
  • Loss of earnings {LOE} (termination of employment)

The worker, a firefighter, was terminated in November 2017 for misuse of sick days and appearing in uniform off-duty. A few months after his termination, the worker submitted a claim for post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his duties as a firefighter. He was granted entitlement for health care benefits only on the basis that his wage loss was because of his termination and not his PTSD. The worker appealed.

The appeal was allowed.
Tribunal cases have taken different approaches to the issue of entitlement to LOE benefits after an injured worker has been fired. Some cases have found that the worker will be entitled to LOE benefits only if the firing was related to the compensable injury. Other cases have determined that, even if the firing is not related to the injury, the worker may still be entitled to LOE benefits if the injury makes a significant contribution to the worker's post-termination wage loss.
The second approach was preferred, as this approach was most consistent with the statute wording that workers are entitled to LOE benefits when a wage loss is a result of a workplace accident. The question in this case was not whether the worker was at fault or responsible for the firing, but rather whether the compensable PTSD prevented him from working after the firing. The medical evidence was clear that his PTSD prevented him from returning to any form of employment. He was entitled to LOE benefits.