The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal recently considered an appeal from a Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal that had awarded an employee workers’ compensation benefits for time away from work due to “shift work maladaptation syndrome”. The employee had worked shift work for nine years when he began to suffer from sleeplessness and diminished alertness on the job. He filed a claim for workers compensation benefits. The employer argued that although the employee’s illness might be the subject of a duty to accommodate under human rights legislation, it did not entitle the employee to workers’ compensation benefits because the illness was not caused by his employment. The Court concluded that the employee’s condition was caused by his personal physical intolerance for shift work. There was no evidence that this personal characteristic was either caused or aggravated by shift work. The Court held that the employee was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
(click here to see full text of the judgment)