CBC / Radio Canada | Cancer is at the center of a 3.5 million conflict

Can CBC / Radio-Canada terminate the hiring of a finance vice president who is absent for 14 months due to her cancer?


Vincent Brosso BeaulieuVincent Brosso Beaulieu
Journalism

The delicate and complicated case ends up in courts in Ontario, where Judith Purvis, former CBC / Radio Canada vice president of finance, is suing the general broadcaster for at least $ 3.5 million.

MI am Purves claims that CBC / Radio-Canada was unable to terminate his career in this way due to his 14-and-a-half months absence, mainly due to his cancer treatment. In her civil lawsuit last October in the Supreme Court of Ontario, she sought compensation for two years’ salary (1.15 million), one million in moral damages, and one million punitive damages.

MI am Purvis also claims that she was offended by the comments made by CBC / Radio Canada CEO Catherine Tate. It claims that M.I am Thus Tate created a “toxic work environment”.

MI am Purvis, who speaks single-language English, claims she was hired as an English-speaking CEO, that her employer was asking her to learn French in an unreasonable time frame, and that there are double standards among senior CBC / Radio executives. Canada on bilingualism (claims that Barbara Williams, CBC Senior Vice President, was not required to learn French).

CBC / Radio-Canada denies all of M.I am Lockers not installed in court. In court documents, CBC / Radio-Canada specifies that Mr.I am Tate always mI am He shall be bound by “respect, professionalism and good faith.”

Appointed by CBC / Radio-Canada as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in April 2015, Judith Purves learned that she had ovarian cancer in June 2019. She underwent surgery the following month and underwent chemotherapy until December 2019. Mr.I am Parvis in particular claims that Mr.I am Tate asked him to eat to discuss his work during his chemotherapy. MI am Tate denies the claim. MI am Purvis thought he could return to work in the fall of 2020 after recovering from his chemotherapy treatment. CBC / Radio-Canada ended its run in August 2020.

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In his civil lawsuit, a.I am Purphs claims that since the arrival of M.I am While serving as CEO in 2018, he was asked to travel further from Toronto to Montreal or Ottawa, which added to his stress level. MI am Borves “in part” attributes his cancer to “CBC stress”. These allegations were not proven in court.

What are the reasonable accommodations in these circumstances?

CBC / Radio-Canada sees the events in a completely different way.

Generally, the law states that the employer must provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with health problems. But he is not required to face undue hardship in retaining an employee who, for health reasons, unfortunately is unable to work for years and cannot expect to return to work in a reasonable future. Each case differs depending on the circumstances. But during the first decade of the 21st century, the Supreme Court issued two rulings in which the Hydro-Québec and the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) terminated employment of an employee absent for several years on health grounds.

After 14 and a half months of absence due to his cancer treatment and rehabilitation, Mr.I am Purvis was “not medically able to return to work, with or without amenities,” according to CBC / Radio-Canada. The employer explained that she held a critical position (one of eight senior executive positions) and that the general broadcaster had to face “unprecedented challenges” financially in 2020 due to the pandemic. It was therefore “vitally important” for Crown to rely on the Vice President of Finance “available to lead the company through this period of great instability,” according to CBC / Radio-Canada.

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As far as his health unit told him that mr.I am Purves was not medically able to return to work “in a reasonable future” after a 14-and-a-half month absence, CBC / Radio-Canada explains that he made the decision necessary to terminate M’s employment contractI am Purves because the latter was not able to perform her work even after these reasonable accommodations (an absence of 14 and a half months during which Mr.I am Purves was on sick leave). CBC / Radio Canada offered him an end-of-service bonus of eight months. Moreover, CBC / Radio-Canada also says that the position of Mr.I am Purves has been bilingual from the start and includes a requirement to travel outside of Toronto.

No hearing date has been set at Mr.I am Purves v. CBC / Radio-Canada. The two parties declined to comment on the case.

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