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Old 10-03-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
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Employment and surgery

What are the labour laws in BC regarding surgery? Can an employer refuse to give an employee time off for surgery? My best friend needs surgery asap to remove tumors from her throat and her boss is refusing to give her the time off to do it. I can't find anything online regarding this unfortunately.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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An employer is legally bound to accommodate to the point of “undue hardship”. Your friend will need to work with the manager to set time off. Legal action could potentially be taken.

Your friend can Contact the Employment Standards Branch by calling the toll free Information Line at 1-800-663-3316 to ask for advice.

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Old 10-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #3
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Wtf Wow, what a douche bag. Karma will come full circle and bite this guy in the ass. Sounds like a serious surgery and she should be able to take time off legally.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:50 AM   #4
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Wow, interesting. From the research I just did, it looks like there actually isn't any provision in the BC labour laws that say an employer has to grant a leave for medical emergencies.

Government of B.C., Labour and Citizens' Services, Employment Standards Branch, Leaves and Jury Duty Factsheet

Nothing about medical emergencies mentioned.

But in the equivalent document for Ontario, it says:

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english.../emergency.php

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Generally, employees are entitled to take personal emergency leave for pre-planned (elective) surgery. Although such surgery is scheduled ahead of time (and therefore not a medical "emergency"), surgeries performed because of an illness or injury will entitle an employee to personal emergency leave.
Another link that summarizes leave of absense rules across provinces seems to show the same thing:

Workershelp.ca - Leaves of Absence from Work
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:54 AM   #5
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What a fucking asshole.

How long will it take to recover from the surgery?

EI has sickness benefits. We play EI for a reason
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:58 AM   #6
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Someone I knew had to take time off from his job because of a serious injury he got from playing soccer. He was laid off when he was finally able to work again =/ shitty
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:36 AM   #7
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If I needed serious surgery and was not given the time off, I'd quit that company.
What a total douche of a boss.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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Damn. There's no official rules regarding this? I'm waiting to hear back from my own HR rep to see what options she may have, even though we work at completely different companies.

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What a fucking asshole.

How long will it take to recover from the surgery?

EI has sickness benefits. We play EI for a reason
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Someone I knew had to take time off from his job because of a serious injury he got from playing soccer. He was laid off when he was finally able to work again =/ shitty
Yeah, I ended up in the same situation. Had to have emergency surgery for a hernia and once I got back to work they laid me off. At least I had Medical EI to cover me in the time being.

Recovery time for this type of surgery is between 3 and 6 weeks, depending on how invasive the surgeon decides to get.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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If I needed serious surgery and was not given the time off, I'd quit that company.
What a total douche of a boss.
Yeah, this is just the icing on the cake for her boss. She's just trying to tough it out until January and then she's back in school.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:46 AM   #10
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Yeah, this is just the icing on the cake for her boss. She's just trying to tough it out until January and then she's back in school.
Hope everything works out for your friend.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:49 AM   #11
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doesnt this come under sick time? i mean, get the surgery, tell doc. to write a note to be off work fo x number of days??
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:50 AM   #12
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Have you friend look at the employee handbook and search for the 'Short-Term Disability' policy. Your friend should also provide the request for a leave IN WRITING: illustrating circumstances, the scheduled surgery time, and the approximate return to work time. Indicate that the surgery date is somewhat flexible to accommodate business needs, but the surgery can no longer be delayed due to possible complications (get this in writing from the doc as well)

Deliver the letter to the boss + HR in writing. If you have everything in writing, then your friend is safe. If the employer fires your friend, then your friend will have a case for wrongful dismissal + failure to accommodate.

(Not legal HR advice)
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:30 AM   #13
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I know it sounds simple. But how about just contacting HR ?

Hell, even when I was working back in college at a lowly department store making minimum wage, the Manager was a douche. One call to HR about the drastic actions he has done and boom, he was gone.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:36 AM   #14
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Could be a small business, in those cases the manager usually is the HR department. I can't even imagine working for a fuck face like, makes me appreciate the employers I've had over the years.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:51 AM   #15
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Wtf Wow, what a douche bag. Karma will come full circle and bite this guy in the ass. Sounds like a serious surgery and she should be able to take time off legally.
may be she used the i'm sick excuse too often or there's a back story?
i'm not saying that is the case but don't jump to a conclusion and pass judgement if you don't know them...in this case the boss and the op's friend.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:11 PM   #16
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may be she used the i'm sick excuse too often or there's a back story?
i'm not saying that is the case but don't jump to a conclusion and pass judgement if you don't know them...in this case the boss and the op's friend.
I don't believe she's ever called in sick to work. In fact, she's a manager at her work and she chastises some of her employees for using that excuse far too often. The issue at play is that me and her recently went on a vacation and her boss doesn't want her taking anymore time off. The problem is that her surgeon didn't give her the surgery date until after we came back from the States.

She was trying to do this by the proper chain of command; in this case, going to her immediate supervisor, the District Manager. However, seeing as her boss is unwilling to budge, I've suggested she talk to her HR rep and see what can be done from there. I also shot an email to my own HR rep to get his opinion on the situation since he's very familiar with labour laws.

Either way, thanks for all your help. It's a shitty situation she's found herself in and I'm just trying to do everything I can to help ease it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #17
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may be she used the i'm sick excuse too often or there's a back story?
i'm not saying that is the case but don't jump to a conclusion and pass judgement if you don't know them...in this case the boss and the op's friend.
You cannot dismiss/reject a STD leave request because the employee has abused the sick-leave policy, even if the employee has been disciplined for it. UNLESS, the employee is let go with cause because of multiple un-excused absences, and has been issued a warning in writing already. Even then, the (former) employee can argue that the unexcused absences was a result of the medical condition(s). The laws are made to protect the employee's interests, and not the employer.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #18
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You should go straight to the source to find the "correct" answer, call the labour relations board and inquire. That way there aren't any doubts.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:47 PM   #19
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You should go straight to the source to find the "correct" answer, call the labour relations board and inquire. That way there aren't any doubts.
The Labour Relations Board is for unionized members. In this case, she has to deal with the Employment Standards Branch. Speaking of which, I tried calling and despite the website saying they're open from 8:30 to 4:30, their automated system states that they're already closed for the day.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:43 PM   #20
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I'm not aware of this but my previous employer gave me medical leave... TWICE so I can get surgeries. And I came back without any problems going on...

More like her employer is a dick then. lol
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:54 PM   #21
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You cannot dismiss/reject a STD leave request because the employee has abused the sick-leave policy, even if the employee has been disciplined for it. UNLESS, the employee is let go with cause because of multiple un-excused absences, and has been issued a warning in writing already. Even then, the (former) employee can argue that the unexcused absences was a result of the medical condition(s). The laws are made to protect the employee's interests, and not the employer.
That's why you see employee's get laid off and not fired. It's a lot harder to argue when you were laid off as opposed to firing someone. It's so easy for an employer to use the we're slow or don't have work for this person excuse.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #22
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I believe it works like this.

If you're sick and need to take time off work, your employer must accommodate you up until the point it causes undue hardship. This is part of BC Human Rights code, not Employment code. Further, they can't fire you for being temporarily sick because that would be dismissal without proper cause.

However, the employer doesn't have to pay you while you're sick, unless it is offered as part of a benefits package (like through paid sick time, or short term disability benefits, etc). If no benefits are available, then you need to apply for EI.
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