Federal Tribunal Reverses EI Denial For COVID-19 Vaccination Refusal

Sep 20, 2022

Federal Tribunal Reverses EI denial

A federal tribunal has recently held that an employee terminated as a result of noncompliance with his employer’s COVID-19 vaccination policy should have received Employment Insurance (EI). The tribunal decided that the employee’s failure to become vaccinated did not amount to “willful misconduct” that would nullify his entitlement to EI. The tribunal stated that this employee “did not consciously, deliberately, or intentionally breach the employer’s verbal direction” and further stated that the employee’s “conduct was not reckless”.

One caveat to this tribunal decision, however, is that the employee in question was only given two days to comply with the employer’s vaccination policy, which gave him little to no time to make an informed decision or obtain alternative sources of income. As a result, this may not mean that every employee terminated or put on an unpaid leave due to noncompliance with an employer’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is entitled to EI, but it would give such an employee a good argument to claim EI if they were not given a reasonable chance to comply with the policy prior to their termination/leave.

Can I Claim EI if I was fired for Not Getting Vaccinated for Covid-19?

In Fall 2021, many employers implemented mandatory vaccination policies for COVID-19 in their workplaces, which often resulted in unvaccinated employees being terminated with cause or being put on indefinite unpaid leaves of absence. Many of these employees then sought financial aid in the form of EI as a result of suddenly losing their income. However, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (“CEIC”) denied EI applications from such employees. In particular, the CEIC stated that the dismissal/leave of absence was a result of employee misconduct, therefore disqualifying the employees from receiving EI and ending up with EI denial claims.

If you are an employee who was terminated or put on an unpaid due to noncompliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy and were left without any compensation, we recommend that you seek legal counsel to better understand your rights and responsibilities. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

Author: Nasyr Asmi


 

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