Employment Law

B.C. mandates disclosure of refused work: What employees need to know


British Columbia is beefing up legislation regarding refused work. The province recently amended its Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) to prevent employers from simply reassigning tasks that were refused by one worker to another.

Under the OHSR, if an employee refuses a task due to safety concerns, the company must address the issues before the work can be reassigned to someone else.

If a work refusal remains unresolved, employers in B.C. are now required to inform staff taking on the refused work why the job was turned down by the previous worker.

Refusing unsafe work in British Columbia

The notification must be provided to the employee in writing and should include:

  • The specific reasons that the previous employee felt the work was unsafe
  • The company’s reasons for why the task doesn’t create an undue hazard for a worker’s health and safety

Can my employer punish me for refusing unsafe work?

Employers in B.C. can’t force you to perform work that you feel is unsafe. It’s illegal for companies to punish you or threaten to punish you for asserting your workplace rights.

If your employer does, that is a reprisal and you should contact a B.C. employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what employees need to know about reprisals at work on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Instead of refusing unsafe work, should I quit?

Before handing in your resignation, you should always consider future severance possibilities.

In B.C., non-unionized employees typically don’t get a severance package if they voluntarily quit their job. Severance is designed to provide you with financial support while you look for new work after being fired without cause or let go.

However, if you are forced to leave because of unwanted changes to your job, such as being asked to perform unsafe work, you could file a claim for constructive dismissal. This would allow you to resign and still receive a full B.C. severance package.

• Do I get severance if I quit?

B.C. employment lawyers for unsafe work issues

If you are a non-unionized employee who has been forced to perform unsafe work or you believe that your refusal of unsafe work has negatively impacted your job, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our employment lawyers in B.C. can review your situation and ensure that your workplace and human rights are properly enforced.

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