Statistics Canada has released numbers demonstrating that approximately 30 million work hours were lost across Canada in November due to seasonal flu and H1N1.
The figures also showed that about 1.5 million Canadian between the ages of 15 and 69, which works out to be about 9% of the work force in that range of years, were absent from their employment due to such illnesses, with an average of 19.6 hours lost per worker.
With such a large number of employees missing work over a short period of time, employers may be tempted to react to their employees’ absences with a heavy hand. However, these large figures do not alter the Common Law governing employment relationships in Canada. Therefore, an employer is still not justified in terminating an employee who is absent from work due to such illnesses. Such a termination may result in claims of wrongful dismissal, discrimination and bad faith.
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