Digest: Balzer v Federated Co-operatives Ltd., 2018 SKCA 93

Date:November 28, 2018

Reported as: 2018 SKCA 93

Docket Number: CA18092 , CACV 2519

Court: Court of Appeal

Date: 2018-11-28


  • Richards
  • Herauf
  • Schwann


  • Employment Law � Appeal
  • Employment Law � Labour Standards � Limitation Periods
  • Employment Law � Labour Standards � Management
  • Employment Law � Labour Standards � Overtime
  • Employment Law � Wrongful Dismissal � Just Cause
  • Statutes � Interpretation � Labour Standards Act, Section 68.4

Digest: The appellant was terminated from his employment in 2002 as a result of allegations of safety violations after propane vapour was released when the appellant backed up his propane delivery truck without first disconnecting the propane fill hoses. The trial judge awarded the appellant over $19,000 in unpaid overtime but dismissed his wrongful dismissal and defamation claims. He appealed the decision. The respondent cross-appealed the decision relating to the unpaid overtime. The appellant signed a statement near the beginning of his employment indicating that he had received the discipline section of the safety policy, that it had been explained to him, and he understood it. The discipline portion indicated that dismissal or suspension would result from violation of the major rules, which included failure to observe regulations for safety, equipment operation, accident prevention, and fire prevention. The appellant was given a card with numbers to call in the event of an incident. In 2002, the appellant began to fill his delivery truck, but did not place the fail-safe chock blocks behind the rear wheels of the truck. He did not disconnect the fill hoses from the truck. The appellant backed up instead of driving forward and the back-check valve pulled loose from the barrel of the truck resulting in the escape of propane vapour. The appellant left the compound, without locking it, to borrow a pipe wrench from an adjacent property. Approximately 5,000 litres of propane were discharged over 15 to 30 minutes before the liquid propane in the truck became refrigerated. When the appellant returned to the compound, he called his co-worker and told him what happened. The appellant then went for lunch for an hour. The appellant did eventually attempt to contact his immediate supervisor, but he did not leave a message, nor did he call his employer�s 24-hour emergency number. A co-worker persuaded the appellant to report the incident. The appellant then left the employee in charge of the problem...

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