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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 101444
Experience:  Lawyer
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Who is responsible if a worker refuses to do unsafe work but

Customer Question

who is responsible if a worker refuses to do unsafe work but boss tells him to do it anyway and something bad happens?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

It depends on what the facts are to some extent but generally if the worker follows instructions the the employer is liable and not the worker.\

But the facts are important. For example, if a supervisor tells an employee to go light the boss's car on fire they will both be liable.

That is an extreme example of course but I think you will get the point.

If this is just an instruction that is part of the regular work instructions and the worker thinks it is dangerous the worker should say no as safety comes first but if the worker does it then the employer and not the worker will usually be liable.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Person at daycare taking care of children, also at least 4 autistic children [which basically cannot be left unsupervised], only suppose to have X amount of children per person/guardian. Only 1 guardian, she's 8 months pregnant and having hard time. Advised supervisor that it's too much and should have another guardian present for 30 kids in case something happens, emergency etc. Nothing bad yet has happened but you never know. Especially with these type of children. Supervisor still refusing to have another person/guardian present. If something does happen then it's basically the guardian's word against the supervisor correct? Who is responsible if something happens either to children or even guardian since she is 8 months pregnant and may go into labor sooner than later?
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

The supervisor will be liable but clearer she must go above her head and complain and state this is a matter of basic safety and needs to be addressed at once.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That's what I told her but she doesn't want to in case of reprimand even though I explained to her that nothing will since she does have the right to "refuse" in case of something like this. Usually a person can contact MOL and get them to investigate but again she won't in case of reprimand.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

Then she has to ask your boss who is on top of the supervisor for confidentiality.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not my boss since this has nothing to do with me but the supervisor of her supervisor correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In my opinion much easier to contact Ministry of Labor and get them to investigate. Supervisor of the supervisor may even be best friends, you never know etc. This would then go back downhill and she would then get reprimanded one way or another. Lots of ways to make an employee quit their job when someone gets on their case. Seen this before.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Best is anonymous call to MOL and let them investigate and see where it goes. If they say all is ok then get back to work.
Expert:  Debra replied 2 years ago.

That makes good sense.