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Digest of the Week | Freedom from Employer Reprisal

Employee signed a release which was effective to bar a complaint of bullying and intimidation that was personal to the employee and which occurred in the past

Wieler v. Saskatoon Convalescent Home | 2017 SKCA 90 | Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

Labour and employment law --- Occupational health and safety legislation — Rights of complainant employee — Freedom from employer reprisal

Appellant was employed as Assistant Director of Care at convalescent home until January 2013 — Appellant filed discriminatory action complaint March 2013 — Complaint alleged appellant had raised concerns regarding bullying, intimidation and risk of staff injury prior to termination — Officer dismissed complaint May 2013 — Officer held appellant had signed February 2013 release of further claims against employer — Discriminatory action complaint was barred by release — Appellant appealed officer's decision — Adjudicator's May 2014 decision dismissed appellant's appeal — Appellant's appeal of adjudicator's decision was dismissed — Trial judge found adjudicator correctly determined that valid and enforceable release precluded appellant from seeking additional relief under Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 — Trial judge found release was clear and concise — Trial judge found appellant had plenty of time to read over and understand release — Trial judge found release specifically referred to and covered any claims arising from termination — Trial judge found appellant had benefit of legal advice, and that good consideration was given for release — Trial judge found appellant did not challenge validity or enforceability of release either before adjudicator or at board — Appellant appealed — Appeal dismissed — Board did not err when it held that complainant under repealed Act could release employer with respect to any past wrongdoing that is personal to complainant — Board did not err when it dismissed complaint — OHS Officer should not have said execution of release by appellant placed her outside of jurisdiction of Act, as matter was not jurisdictional, but was whether appellant could waive her rights — Officer had required jurisdiction to make assessment.
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