August 28, 1995, to Present

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“I am sorry that your experience since your injury has been unpleasant.”, “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction.”, “I understand that you have filed a claim with Alberta Human Rights.”

 

Vice President – Chief Operating Officer
October 1, 1997

“we deny allegations that he was discriminated and harassed at any time during or subsequent to his employment with the company.”, “at no time was there ever malice of intent.”

“sincere apology has been made to this employee for any short comings at the company have had in meeting his expectations.”

“the termination (October 18, 1996) from the company was solely based on medical evidence.”

 

Human Resources Department
November 12, 1997

“employee was terminated (October 18, 1996) from employment based on medical information.”

 

Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department
January 26, 1999

“the company has a strong reputation for professionalism and high standards and that they go out of their way for their employees.”

“the company is a professional company and is able to provide many examples of awards that the
company has received for their professionalism.”

 

Senior Official
February 5, 1999

August 28, 1995 – Present

1995

1). August 26

Seek Medical Attention

ATTENDING PHYSICIAN confirms my back injury is work-related.

Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side

2). August 27

Contact Dispatcher (Operations Supervisor) at home informing that the doctor has confirmed that my back injury is work-related as a direct result of my job duties as a professional driver. 

3). August 28

Report the work-related back injury to Senior Official with Operations Supervisor in the office at the time.  

I was instructed by my employer after seeking medical treatment not to report my back injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board and my request for a Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form was denied instead provided with the Employee and Attending Physician Forms under the company’s Group Benefits.

4). August 30

Company Official informs their Insurance Provider: occupation as a Professional Driver “Employee’s condition is work-related”, “not entitled to W.C.B.” and “no modified duties available.”, “Injury happened off the job.

5). October 4

Human Resources Department informs me with an attached handwritten note that I am to have my “family physician complete the attached form and return ASAP.” 

For their Insurance Provider.

6). October 13

Senior Official faxes out-of-pocket medical expenses including a writeup of Day of Injury Report (non-compliance W.C.B. Form) directly to the company’s Insurance Provider (Supervised)

7). October 18

Senior Official informs me: “the company has confirmed that you had a pre-existing injury before you came to work with this company, your job duties as a professional driver have nothing to do with your current injury; it is related to your old injury, you came to work with a bad back.” 

8). November 15

Operations Supervisor makes attempts to have me return to work and deliver a load within central Alberta claiming “we are short a driver.” (I refused)

9). December    

Senior Official presents me with a safety awareness award. Picture included in company Monthly Newsletter.

1996

10). January 4 – 17

Senior Official has me perform Telephone Survey (without pay) claiming that it is approved by the company as modified duties with Operations Supervisor being aware of. 

(Employer fails to provide supporting documentation and Duty to Accommodate for my hearing impairment)

11). February 27

Human Resources Department informs with an attached handwritten note that I am to complete the attached Long Term Disability form and return to head office A.S.A.P. “Please note the doctor’s portion is not required.” (For the company’s Insurance Provider.)

12). February 29

Operations Supervisor reports to their Insurance Provider: “Employee has not worked since injury occurred” outlines job duties providing only an approx. account of my daily job duties as City Driver consisting of Driving/Physically Loading and Unloading 75% of the time, Driving and Sitting up to 2 hours, standing up to 6 hours. 

13). March 11

Senior Official instructs me to call Operations Supervisor every Monday morning claiming it is a company requirement and to see what needs to be done around the office in the evenings after 5 pm and expected to work on Saturdays and Sundays (without pay) all this after hours when closed for the weekend with no co-workers present creating an unsafe working environment, and without being specific and may include delivering loads claiming that it approved by the company for modified duties. (I refused due to back injury) ((Employer fails to provide supporting documentation and to Duty to Accommodate for my hearing impairment..)

14). April 11  

Company’s Insurance Provider. Long Term Disability has been accepted. (Effective March 02,1996 – March 2, 1998) Job Position is protected to allow for Approved Treatment and Recovery Program and Supervised by the Family Physician as required to return to employment once completed.

15). April 25

Senior Official and Operations Supervisor informed me that I am required to submit to Drug and Alcohol testing while on medical leave. 

NOTE: Drug and alcohol testing performed on an employee while on approved supervised medical leave following the family physician instructions and seeking appropriate treatment is in clear violation of Government Acts and Regulations that are intended to protect an injured worker this is also a form of employee abuse and harassment from the employer.

16). May 9

Workers’ Compensation Board claim is registered for the first time by me as instructed after first reporting to an Operations Supervisor and Senior Official on August 28, 1995, and 9 months later after being accepted on to the company’s Long Term Group Disability Policy (Effective March 02).

17). May 9 

Human Resources Department reports to their Insurance Provider: “Employee off work since August 25, 1995, Absent for Medical Reasons”-“Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side” and “Employee is NOT entitled to W.C.B.” 

18). May 29   

Workers’ Compensation Board contacts the company for the first time requesting details of a work-related back injury reported on August 28, 1995, this is after being accepted on to the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy on March 2.

As of January 01, 95, an employer’s account will not be charged for any medical costs unless they exceed $300. Medical costs include physician reporting fees, hospital facility fees, or prescription receipts, etc.

You must provide us with a copy of the Employer’s report of the accident if: 

The worker is missing time from work: 

The worker is performing modified duties as a result of the injury: 

The worker is receiving ongoing medical treatment. 

19). June 2

Approved Rehabilitation Program (August 1 – December 10) intended for me to return to the company with modified duties once completed and after receiving the required written medical approval from my family physician with mandatory supervision to ensure my safety, health, and well-being and is also a requirement in all Disability Policies and Government / W.C.B. Acts and Regulations. Company’s Insurance Provider

20). June 4

Senior Official makes attempt a 2nd time to return to work to perform Telephone Survey (without pay) claiming that it is approved by the company as modified duties. (I refused) (Employer fails to provide supporting documentation and Duty to Accommodate for my hearing impairment)

21). June 13

Human Resources Department responds to the Workers’ Compensation Board investigation:

“We cannot provide an employer report as there is no evidence to support this injury is a work-related injury.”  

22). July 19 

Make an early withdrawal of my RRSP savings and take out a Personal Bank Loan to meet daily living expenses.

23). August 1

Approved Rehabilitation Program begins.

24). October 18   TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Senior Official Terminates Employment via telephone conversation in a most callous and unprofessional manner, without just cause or providing a written explanation while on the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy and in an approved Rehabilitation Program (August 1 – December 10) intended for me to return to the company with modified duties once completed and after receiving the required written medical approval from my family physician with mandatory supervision to ensure my safety, health, and well-being this is also a requirement in all Disability Policies and Government Acts and Regulations. 

25). December 10   

Approved Rehabilitation Program completed.  

The company fails to honour this agreement.

1997

26). January 31

Company’s Insurance Provider confirms in writing: 

Approved Rehabilitation Program was intended for you to return to the company” and informs “that it would be the responsibility of you and your and physicians to arrange for any treatment or specialist’s referrals and “you would be responsible for any costs related to a treatment program. Under the Provision of your policy Long Term Disability Plan, there are no benefits for medical expenses or for treatment expenses.”

27). October 1

Company Chief Operating Officer’s letter of response:

I am sorry that your experience since your injury has been unpleasant.” , “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction.” , “I understand that you have filed a claim with Alberta Human Rights.” (Seriously?)

28). November 12

Human Resources Department responds to the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation:

“employee was employed from July 29, 1994, to October 18, 1996.” 

“he was injured off the job on August 25, 1995, and began a Short Term disability Program for a back injury effective September 02, 1995.” 

“while on Short Term Disability the employee registered a claim with Workers’ Compensation Board to appeal for compensation for his disability the claim was denied and was continued through the company’s insurance provider.”  (Refer to May 9 and June 13, 1996)

“the employee was accepted and began a Long Term Disability program through our Insurance Provider on March 02, 1996, ending March 2, 1998.”  

– “the company is empathetic that as a result of the employee’s physical condition he has experienced frustration and anxiety during his disability; however, we deny allegations that he was discriminated against and harassed at any time during or subsequent to his employment with the company.”

“as with any professional organization we do our best to maintain and support clear and consistent communication. We believe we could have done a better job communicating with this employee however, at no time was there ever malice of intent. We believe we have made significant improvements to our policies and procedures that facilitate improved communications.”

Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations”.(Seriously?)

– “the termination from the company was solely based on medical evidence.”

Independent Medical Assessments by physicians advised that the employee should not return to the physical demands required in his previous position with the company and that alternative employment search and training should be incorporated into a rehabilitation program.”

“a modified work program of conducting in-office telephone surveys was initiated by the company for June (4) 1996 (4 months prior to his termination.)”(Refer to January 4-17, 1996)

“this program was discontinued as time would be better spent on the rehabilitation program had developed.”

“the company is also willing to provide a written and verbal reference regarding this employee’s previous work performance in an effort to secure employment in an industry compatible with his physical ability.”

1998

29). May Monthly Newsletter

Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department 

Acknowledges the high risk of back injuries among their professional drivers having 63-Claims in 41 Months and is an occupational hazard within the trucking industry and the negative impact on one’s personal life, co-workers and family and financial hardship incurred.

We are sure that anyone with a back injury will attest, they don’t want back problems or the slow recovery process associated with it. Many of you have required surgery. Some of you could not return to your profession.

Back injuries affect your family, your earnings are disrupted and your regular routine in never quite the same. The things you took for granted…well you just can’t do them anymore.

Back Safety Tips

As you can see from the statistics above, back pain and injuries are frequent among drivers. The following are the 3 most common reasons for back pain.

1). Poor posture while driving:

2). Activities performed around the truck:

3). Exiting and exiting the vehicle.

How does driving affect your back?

      • Your risk of back pain is increased by 2 to 4 times if you routinely driver more than 30 km per day.
      • Truck driving increases the risk of disc herniation (rupture) by four times.
      • There is a direct link between vibration from a vehicle and low back pain, and as vibration is increased so is tension, fatigue, and pain.

How do back injuries happen?

      • Most injuries happen after years of accumulated stresses and strains from activates that you do on a daily basis. Very rarely do injuries occur due to a blow or fall.
      • Back muscles tire quickly and become stiff and sore when the back is in one position.

30). June 8 & 11

Workers’ Compensation Board investigation letters confirm there is no medical evidence to support that I came to the company with a pre-existing back injury.

31). September 10

Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department responds to the Workers’ Compensation Board investigation:

“the employee was employed by the company from July 29, 1994, to October 18, 1996. (14 months post-injury).”

– “when he injured his back off-the-job in August 1995, he was instructed not to report to the Workers’ Compensation Board because the incident was not work-related and it would fall under our extended health care for short term disability.”

Physical Demands Analysis: (Refer to February 29, 1996)

Position: Professional Driver, 70 Hours per week, frequent lifting, pushing, pulling above 100 lbs. Tools and Weight: Pallet Jack 100lbs, Dock Plate 100lbs, Chains 75lbs.

Other Aspects and Demands of the job not listed:

Average workday 14 hours, we pull pallets of 2500lbs. out of 48 ft. trailers and unload these into warehouses, stacking boxes, moving drums by hand, and with a wheeler from 145lbs to 700lbs.  

We sit for long periods of time and then do heavy physical labour for a short time then we drive. 

32). November 6

Workers’ Compensation Board investigation letter confirms for the 3rd time there is no medical evidence to support that I came to the company with a pre-existing back injury.

1999

33). January 26    

Company’s Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department response to the Workers’ Compensation Board investigation:

“the employee was not able to report to his next shift of August 28, 1995, and applied for Short Term Disability.”

“the injury is Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side.”

“the employee was accepted and began a Long Term Disability program on March 2, 1996, ending March 2, 1998.” 

in May 29, 1996 – Company receives information from Workers’ Compensation Board that a claim has been filed.”  (Refer to August 28, 1995, and September 10, 1998)

“June 13, 1996 – Company responds to Workers’ Compensation Board inquiry by stating we had no evidence to support a work-related injury. Information was provided to W.C.B. outlining the employee’s back injury history which was dated back to an injury sustained, 1985 when he was employed by another company.”

“in October 1996 – the employee was terminated from employment based on medical information that he could not return to his regular duties. Efforts had been made by the company to place this employee in modified work duties 4 months (June 4) prior to his termination.”

“the program was not initiated as they felt the employee’s time would be better spent on a rehabilitation program they had developed for him.” (Refer to January 14-17, 1996)

“December 24, 1997- W.C.B. requests confirmation from the company of employment status and job description. This information was re-faxed to the Workers’ Compensation Board on September 10, 1998.”

– “the company takes pride in our efforts at ensuring claims are filed with the appropriate coverage whether it is through our Insurer or the Workers’ Compensation Board.” 

– “given the aforementioned history, review of our files, and reliance upon the medical review taken by the W.C.B. and our Insurer, we cannot support this claim to be work-related.”

– “we can only conclude that the employee is suffering from a condition that may have resulted or re-surfaced from his injury endured back in 1985 while he was employed by another company.” 

34). February 5

Human Resources Department and Senior Official respond to the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation:

termination was based solely on the evidence.”

Independent Medical Assessments by physicians advised that the employee should not return to the physical demands of his previous position.”

– “The doctors suggested that alternative employment and job search and training be incorporated in a Rehabilitation Plan as results in job training and job searching skills course began.” 

– “a modified work program of doing telephone surveys was started June (4) 1996, but was discontinued as it was felt that Rehabilitation would be better.” (Refer to January 4-17, 1996)

“eventually the decision was made to terminate the employee because of the determination that he could not return to his job.” 

“if the company could only offer modified work if they have it.”

“it’s hard to offer modified work at the company because most of the work involved heavy labour which that the employee cannot do because of his injury.”

“the only other jobs at the company are office jobs and dispatch jobs, which the employee is not qualified for due to his lack of education. Dispatch involves a lot of calculations, and the employee does not have the analytical skills for it.”

Senior Official –“the company takes the position that this company is a professional organization and did their best to maintain and support clear and consistence communication with the employee.”

– Senior Official –“the company is a professional company and provided many examples of awards and that the company has received for their professionalism.”

– Senior Official –“the company always went out of its way for the employee and that they had always given him letters of appreciation for a job well done.” 

– Senior Official –“the company left his job open for a year and then had to fill it because they needed the manpower.” 

– Senior Official –“this company does all they can to accommodate their employees and after the employee was injured that had him doing a telephone survey that went on for about a week, however, cannot remember why the complainant stopped the surveys.” (Refer to January 4-17, 1996) 

“the employee was a hard worker and it’s sad that there is nothing more the company can be done for him.”

– Senior Official –“this company has a strong reputation for accommodating its employees and that they helped an employee who is a driver in his 40s go back to school and become upgraded.”

– Senior Official –“the company has a strong reputation for professionalism and high standards and that they go out of their way for their employees.” 

– Senior Official also acknowledges for a 2nd time that “a telephone survey was offered then suddenly discontinued and did not understand why the employee never came back and that in his opinion is the company did everything they could to help the employee .” (Refer to June 4, 1996)

The company is a 1st  class organization.” 

Termination of Employment (October 18, 1996) “was solely based on medical evidence” while on the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy and in an Approved Rehabilitation Program (August 1 – December 10) intended for me to return to the company with modified duties once completed and after receiving the required written medical approval from my family physician with mandatory supervision to ensure my safety, health, and well-being and is also a requirement in all Disability Policies and Government Acts and Regulations. 

The company fails to honour this agreement.

35). February 5 and May 13

Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation concludes: 

termination of employment was based on physical disability.” 

It recommended that I receive damages for the breach of my human rights.

36). June 1 

Company’s Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department respond to the Workers’ Compensation Board investigation:

– “the company denies responsibility for the subject claim based on the following information and sequence of events recorded on files.”

– “the employee was not able to report to his next shift of August 28, 1995, and applied for Short Term Disability. He reported that while his job as a professional driver it was normal to have a sore and tired back at the end of the workday. 

The day of the accident was a typical day of duties and the employee reported and went home with a tired and sore back which is usual.” 

– “review of our files and reliance medical review taken, we cannot support this claim to be work-related.” (Refer to June 8, 11 and November 6, 1998)

we can only conclude that the employee continues to suffer from a condition that may have resulted or suffered from his previous injuries.” 

– “the company takes pride in our efforts to ensure claims are filed with the appropriate coverage, whether it is with our Private Insurance Company or The Workers’ Compensation Board. 

Both programs offer vocational rehabilitation/occupational assessment and job search assistance when a disability prevents from returning to their regular employment.”

 “These programs were provided by our Insurance Provider.”

2002

37). March 14 

CPP letter confirms:  

we have concluded that you are disabled under the Canada Pension Plan.”

Benefits retroactive August 31, 1999

2005

38). September 15

Receive a letter from the company’s Insurance Provider:

We reviewed the new medical information received on your claim for your disability your claim continues to meet the definition of disability on your plan.”

You’re Responsibilities: 

Your plan requires that you participate and cooperate in a reasonable and customary treatment program performed by your physician or a medical specialist.

Under the provisions of your Long Term Disability Plan:

Medical expenses are not covered under this policy you will be responsible for any incurred costs.

It would remain the responsibility of you and your physician to arrange for any treatment or specialist referrals and you would be responsible for any costs incurred in that treatment program.

Under the Employee Group Long Term Disability Policy your CPP disability benefits are deducted – Retroactive August 31, 1999.

2008 – 2018

39). Receive a letter from the company’s Insurance Provider:

We reviewed the new medical information received on your claim for your disability your claim continues to meet the definition of disability on your plan.” 

You’re Responsibilities: 

Employee’s Supplement Statement Disability Information Questionnaire.

Attending Physician’s Supplementary Statement (For your physician to complete)

Note under the terms of your plan, you are responsible for paying any fees that may be charged for getting this information.

40). Family (Attending) Physician’s Medical Report

“Patient has no hope of returning to any Gainful Employment, progressively getting worse.”

Based on my experience as an injured Professional Driver in the Trucking Industry in Alberta:

As outlined in My Story and the above transcript. (Supporting documentation available with a written request) 

Human Resources Department, Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department personnel and company officials from the first day have demonstrated defiance after I had reported my work-related back injury on August 28, 1995, after being examined by the attending physician confirming that my injury is, in fact, work-related and supported with medical documentation including specialists reports and x-rays thereafter.

As evident in the documentation submitted this company, department personal and senior officials clearly show a blatant disregarded of all Government Acts and Regulations and Disability Policies and was unsupportive of my situation and offered no assistance or resources even when it was requested.

The company admits to their Insurance Provider on August 30, 1995, that my back injury is work-related and is a result of my daily job duties as a professional driver in their charge then refuse to accept full responsibility to avoid accountability and fails to ensure that my rights are being protected and provide assistance in helping to understand clearly what my rights are.

This lack of direction from officials and not explaining what the rules are and what department or official was responsible for handling my injury claim, whose instructions were I to follow and report to on a regular bases during my approved supervised medical leave, and who to contact to address my concerns including how I was being treated during my tenure with the company.

This confusion (intentional or not) from department personnel and senior officials in the handling of my injury claim resulted in a mistrusting environment with officials and an unwarranted animosity towards an employee while on paid medical leave also created an unhealthy, unprofessional and toxic atmosphere after reporting my work-related back injury. 

I was no longer considered a team member within the company structure instead I was made to feel unwelcome and treated as an outcast thereafter by company officials.

My termination of employment on October 18, 1996, via telephone conversation was based on my physical disability based solely on medical documentation as confirmed by company officials and concluded in the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigation findings while on paid medical leave and in full compliance of my family physician’s instructions, seeking appropriate treatment as required and in an approved rehabilitation program intended for me to return to the company with modified duties with mandatory supervision once completed on December 10, 1996.

I certainly did not anticipate this type of abusive and malicious behavior while working for a well-respected and trusted professional company such as this one that claims to represent the trucking industry and respected members as a leader and role model and it was particularly difficult to learn afterward and after my termination that the Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department acknowledge in May 1998 that back injuries are a recognized high-risk occupational hazard for professional drivers while accounting for 63-Claims in a 41 Months among their own professional drivers and make claim to being an industry leader on the issue and envisioned themselves as a role model and setting an example for others to follow. 

During the Alberta Human Rights Commission and Workers’ Compensation Board investigation and in some cases to their Insurance Provider company department personal and senior officials I believe fails to disclose key points of information (intentional or not) and adequately provide supporting documentation of the following:

  • August 28, 1995, Request for a Workers’ Compensation Board Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form was denied by a Senior Official with the Operations Supervisor present in the room and after attending physician confirms back injury is work-related:
  • August 30, 1995, The company acknowledges to their Insurance Provider “Employee’s condition is work-related”, “not entitled to W.C.B.” and “no modified duties available.”;
  • October 13, 1995, Submitted out-of-pocket medical expenses faxed including a writeup of Day of Injury Report (non-compliance W.C.B. Form) directly to the company’s Insurance Provider. (Supervised)
  • October 18, 1995, Senior Official informs me “the company has confirmed that you had a pre-existing injury before you came to work with this company, your job duties as a professional driver have nothing to do with your current injury; it is related to your old injury, you came to work with a bad back.”;
  • November 15, 1995, Operations Supervisor attempts to have me return to work and deliver a load within central Alberta;
  • January 4 – 17, 1996, Senior Official has me perform Telephone Survey (without pay), without supporting documentation and reporting to W.C.B. and their Insurance Provider as required and fails in their Duty to Accommodate for my hearing impairment;
  • February 29, 1996, Daily Job Duties as City Driver as first acknowledged and reported to the company’s Insurance Provider by this same Operations Supervisor;
  • March 11, 1996, Senior Official instructs me to call the Operations Supervisor every Monday morning to see what needs to be done around the office in the evenings after 5 pm and expected to work on Saturdays and Sundays (without pay) and in an unsafe work environment;
  • May 9, 1996, Human Resources Department reports to their Insurance Provider: “Employee off work since August 25, 1995, Absent for Medical Reasons” – “Lumbosacral Disc Herniation Left Side” and “Employee is NOT entitled to W.C.B.”

    This occurred on the same day and for the first time that I had registered a W.C.B. Day of the Injury Report Claimant Form on May 9 and after I was accepted on to the company’s Insurance Provider’s Long Term Disability Plan on April 11. (Effective March 02, 1996);
  • June 2, 1996, Approved Rehabilitation Program (August 1 – December 10) intended for me to return to the company with modified duties once completed and after receiving the required written medical approval from my family physician with mandatory supervision to ensure my safety, health, and well-being and is also a requirement in all Disability Policies and Government Acts and Regulations and is recognized in the law courts;The company fails to honour this agreement.
  • October 18, 1996, Termination of Employment “was solely based on medical evidence” and without just cause or providing a written explanation at the time;
  • Copy of the Driver’s Daily Log Book;
  • Copy of the Monthly Newsletter (MAY 98) acknowledging 63-Claims in a 41 Month period among their professional drivers in their charge;
  • September 10, 1998, Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department “he was instructed not to report to the Workers’ Compensation Board because the incident was not work-related.”;
  • June 8 & 11 and November 6, 1998, Workers’ Compensation Board investigation letters report that there is no medical evidence to support that I came to work for the company with a pre-existing back injury. Human Resources Department and Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department officials dispute these findings and firmly maintains that I knowingly came to work with a bad back and the company should not be held accountable;
    Note: Before being hired, I was not required to undergo a Pre-Employment Medical/Physical Evaluation to determine if I was capable of performing physically demanding job duties as a professional driver.
  • Copy of Resume and Pre-Employment (Pre-Injury) Status documents containing a copy of a fitness award, supporting that I was in exceptional top physical condition and received recognition from the college for being an asset to the program and from previous employers in the trucking industry for being a dependable professional driver with outstanding job performance reports;
  • Copy of personal letter received from the President dated October 29, 1994, confirming that I had completed a 3 months’ probation period and received awards and recognition for being a valued employee, and for my job performance during my tenure with the company.

The Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department on June 1, 1999, states: 

“review of our files and reliance medical review taken, we cannot support this claim to be work- related” and “we can only conclude that the employee continues to suffer from a condition that may have resulted or suffered from his previous injuries.”

At no time during the company’s internal investigation including after my Termination of Employment was I made aware of or contacted by the Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department or any senior official to discuss or address my concerns including asking officials why the company had failed to and would not permit me to report my back injury to W.C.B. on August 28, 1995, including out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Taking into account all supporting documentation including outlined below in my opinion, the company’s own conclusion from their internal investigation is biased and subjective; to say the least and I believe the main objective here is intended to deflect attention for two main issues: 

1). Company is in clear violation of the Workers’ Compensation Board Acts and Regulations for failing in their responsibility to report a work-related injury including incurred medical expenses as required by law when notified by the employee taking into account the Claims and Safety Department acknowledging having 63-Back Injury Claims in 41 Months occurred among professional drivers in their charge. (May 98).

2). Treatment towards a professional driver including Termination of Employment while on approved supervised medical leave seeking appropriate treatment as recommended by the family physician and in an approved Rehabilitation Program (documented) while on the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy receiving benefits and having me perform non-approved modified duties without pay and fails to report it at the time.

The company’s version of modified duties (without pay) for an injured worker does not meet the definition of employers’ Duty to Accommodate as officials claim and are in violation of all Disability Policies, Government Acts and Regulations, Employment Standards, Human Rights Commission and Workers’ Compensation Board Acts and Regulations and the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy including failing to report these modified duties as required and provide supporting documentation.

That is intended to protect the injured worker’s rights while on supervised medical leave and in full compliance of the family physician’s instructions and seeking appropriate treatment with a return work program on modified duties (with pay) and if required, with mandatory supervision and only after receiving the required written medical approval from the primary (family) physician (no one else) to ensure the worker’s safety, health and well-being protected.

Not only did company officials knowingly violate my rights and recklessly put at risk my safety, health and well-being, and disability coverage but also my co-workers, the public’s safety and the company at further risk for liability if they had they been successful in having me return to perform duties including driving and my back injury had worsened or I caused an accident due to my medical condition when it was clearly documented and well known to officials that I was not medically fit and able to return to work due to the obvious extent of my back injury.

Company officials including the Human Resources Department made it known to the Alberta Human Rights Commission Board during their investigation. 

That they are more than willing to provide copies of the numerous achievements, awards, and recognition they have received from the trucking industry and respected members including the Alberta Motor Transportation Association(AMTA) for setting an example for being a leader and role model in the industry, and from the Federal Government of Canada on January 19, 1995, as one of Canada’s 50 Best Private Companies and a well-respected and trusted professional company to work for.

The Claims Co-ordinator Compliance and Safety Department made it known to the Workers’ Compensation Board during their investigation:

“The company takes pride in our efforts to ensure claims are filed with the appropriate coverage, whether it is with our Private Insurance Company or the Workers’ Compensation Board.”

“Both programs offer vocational rehabilitation/occupational assessment and job search assistance when a disability prevents from returning to their regular employment.”,

“These programs were provided by our Insurance Provider.”

It is over 25 years and after my termination, to date, these programs have not been provided to me as claimed and I have not been contacted by a Company Representative or their Insurance Provider in providing a caseworker or to address my concerns and offer assistance in helping me return to Gainful and Productive Employment in any capacity in any occupation with my family physician’s approval.

I have received no support from this well-respected and trusted professional company or from the trucking industry or a respected member(s).

This very much sums up my experience during my tenure of employment in the Alberta trucking industry and their approach to professional drivers’ safety, health, and well-being and a commitment to listening to their people after reporting a work-related back injury as demonstrated and documented in my case.

I was a victim of Employment Standards and Human Rights abuse after reporting a work-related back injury to the company where I was employed from 1994-1996 as a Professional Driver in the trucking industry in the province of Alberta.

In wearing the uniform and contributing my driving skills and professional attitude I did so with a strong sense of pride and self-respect and felt like I was part of the family. 

I believed at the time I was in fact, driving for an Alberta based professional trucking company, which carried itself with pride, integrity and was loyal and honest and I was making a valuable contribution to the growth of the company and its proud history. 

However, after reporting my work-related back injury I soon realized a trucking company in complete violation of their code of ethics, moral standards, and government rules have demonstrated an abusive culture and mentality towards an injured professional driver will not be required to answer to anyone or an independent committee for their unprofessional conduct and will no doubt will go unpunished by their peers in the industry, our provincial government, and elected officials, ultimately not be held accountable for any wrongdoing.

As a veteran professional driver now living with a pre-existing and permanent back injury on the company’s Group Long Term Disability Policy that does not provide medical coverage and offers no rehabilitation/retraining programs I have no possibility of returning to any employment. 

I have lost the ability to return to Gainful and Productive Employment and earn a decent living for myself including financial security, live a healthy and independent, productive and quality of life and becoming a strong contributing member of society I was able to do before to being injured and in exceptional top physical condition when hired by the company.

My back injury without question is clearly work-related and is supported with overwhelming medical documentation including confirmation by the company on August 30, 1995, and their Monthly Newsletter (May 98) and is directly linked to my occupation as a professional driver in this demanding environment in this industry the company fails in the all it’s required obligations they have as an employer to an injured worker and valued employee in their charge.

A company senior official would only provide the Employee Group Disability Form and refused the Workers’ Compensation Board Day of Injury Report Claimant Form as required when requested and is in clear violation of the employees’ rights suffering a work-related injury.

This Private Insurance Policy purchased by the company for its professional drivers is nowhere equal compared to W.C.B. coverage in what I was assured by company officials on August 28, 1995, thereafter, and is well below the poverty of living scale. Something they are well aware of.

In some policies, monthly premiums are deducted from the employees’/co-workers’ monthly paycheck rather than billing the company directly.

For the injured professional driver, I believe, humanity impact factors are not taken into consideration by the employer (as demonstrated in my case) or the trucking industry as a whole thus imposing a preventable and unnecessary hardship in all aspects of the employee’s daily quality of health and standard of living and personal life.

In my opinion, something this industry and respected members in Alberta are not overly concerned about as Private Insurance Group Benefits Plan for its employees’ I believe is viewed as an opportunity or option in avoiding accountability and taking responsibility for work-related injuries rather than reporting to the Workers’ Compensation Board then ultimately at their discretion Termination of Employment of the injured employee while on approved supervised medical leave and following the family physician’s instructions. 

This abusive mentality in the Alberta Trucking Industry is completely unacceptable and unethical; that promotes itself as a safe place to be employed in and build a future with.

It needs to be addressed and corrected publicly to ensure equality, fairness, honesty, respect, safety, support, transparency (Full Disclosure) and without question and discrimination regardless of the industry, they are employed in.

Employers and Respected Members in the Trucking Industry in Alberta:

When purchasing a Group Benefits Plan for your employees’ you need to factor in I believe the moral and ethical impact and it must have comparable benefits and in full compliance of the Workers’ Compensation Board Acts and Regulations, it must receive a letter of approval from an Independent 3rd Party, education and honesty is also the goal here, do not mislead (as demonstrated in my case) your employees’ and professional drivers with false coverage claims!:

  • Covers 90 percent of net earnings including overtime;
  • Benefits are indexed for inflation. 
  • The worker receives effective treatment and retraining; 
  • Coverage for permanent partial disability benefits; 
  • Coverage for expert medical reports or specialist examinations: 
  • Coverage for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses; 
  • Coverage for standard rehabilitation and preventative treatments.

Received CPP Disability Pension, is not deducted from a monthly disability pension.

In my opinion, companies, their departments, senior officials, the entire trucking industry and respected members must be forthcoming with the rules to ensure equality, fairness, honesty, respect, safety, support, transparency (Full Disclosure) in providing the necessary supporting documentation including a copy of the letter of approval and at all times and must provide ongoing vital support to their professional drivers and valued employees’ without posturing, selfishness and no grandstanding!

I live daily with chronic pain, suffer from sleep deprivation, and have limited mobility resulting from Extensive Lumbar Muscle Dysfunction and Ligament Damage with Nerve Impingement, affecting my legs and toes and my standard quality of living continues to diminish and my health continues to deteriorate considerably with daily challenges and with no hope for recovery on this Group Long Term Disability Policy that does not even provide for a basic standard of living for an injured worker let alone providing assistance I need in returning to Gainful and Productive Employment. 

I am unable to set money aside for a retirement savings plan. 

My benefits will terminate at age 65. I am certainly screwed here. 

Had I not been injured and had been employed with a responsible and trustworthy trucking company with morals and ethics that values the safety, health, and well-being of its employees and is in full compliance of the Employment Standards, Human Rights and Workers’ Compensation Board Acts and Regulations in protecting their professional drivers’ rights. 

I believe I would have been able to continually earn a productive living and maintain a healthy and quality way of life and do so well past 70 years old as one professional driver has proven at age 89 years in Alberta. (As documented in the media on April 11, 2011, and 07/09/2011)

My standard of living has deteriorated considerably and has negatively impacted my personal life and social life with friends; my health is progressively getting worse and with no resources made available in regaining a healthily, highly motivated and independent productive life before to being injured while employed with a well-respected and trusted professional trucking company.

My promising forestry career was also cut short (including 3 dedicated and supportive instructors: 2 academic and 1 fitness with whom I owe a debt of gratitude too and have the utmost respect for) as a result of this abusive and malicious behavior from an employer with an inadequate disability policy and fails in protecting the rights of one of their own valued employees. 

Certainly, a waste of a productive life after reporting a work-related back injury to my employer over 25 years ago at age 31 on August 28, 1995, and placing my trust in their senior department officials while in the company’s charge as a professional driver.

Summary Thoughts

My personal experience while employed in the Alberta Trucking Industry is certainly a disappointment, to say the least, and unexpected life-altering experience with this company.

I believe that by raising awareness and sharing my experience with the hope others will learn and make notes from is just one example both veteran drivers and the next generation of professional drivers need to stop, in my opinion, and give serious thought too and ask themselves when considering submitting a resume and drivers abstract with a professional trucking company.

After reading about this professional driver’s experience: 

Am I willing to put at risk my safety, health, and well-being and being treated as expendable and my employment terminated while on approved supervised medical leave and under a physician’s care or will I be treated with the expected equality, fairness, honesty, respect, safety and transparency (Full Disclosure) that I am entitled too under all Government Acts and Regulations?

Without question or discrimination and receive support from the company in which the Trucking Industry, Alberta Motor Transportation Association (AMTA) and Federal Government of Canada endorse as being a well-respected and trusted professional company to work for that accepts and recognizes back injuries as an occupational hazard while pursuing a career in this demanding environment as a Professional Driver?

Closing Statement

In my opinion, the part, where this company, departments personnel, and senior officials sadly fail to appreciate or simply just does not care is that their unprofessional handling of a professional driver’s injury claim from the beginning, failing to address concerns and ultimately termination of employment of this driver while on approved supervised medical leave seeking appropriate treatment as recommended by the family physician is not about:

“I am sorry that your experience since your injury has been unpleasant.”, “I understand that it was not handled to your satisfaction.”

“The company is empathetic that as a result of the employee’s physical condition he has experienced frustration and anxiety during his disability, “Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations”.

“Sincere apology has been made to this employee for any shortcomings at the company have had in meeting his expectations.”

Seriously, unbelievable, immoral, and very unprofessional!

What this company “1 st class organization” department personnel and senior officials’ also sadly lack in understanding, or appreciate is not about just one professional driver’s “expectations & satisfaction” rights this is about respecting all professional drivers’ that earn an honest living on the road and contribution to the company’s growth while in their charge in this demanding and at often a harsh environment it is also a reflection of the entire industry towards professional drivers rights, not just one!

This is also about an abusive and malicious behavior that can have a profound and long-lasting negative impact on one’s safety, health and well-being, your quality of life, family life and social life with friends, and from earning a Gainful and Productive and Independent Living with financial security for your future as demonstrated in my case.

Also, equally important is the company’s responsibility to ensure that all professionals drivers in their charge are protected this includes overseeing the process with due diligence to ensure accountability throughout this process without personal opinions or biased investigations.

Instead, it is based on submitted medical/specialist reports and in my case a detailed description of Daily Job Duties as City Driver, a Driver’s Daily Log Book, and the company’s recognition as a high-risk occupational hazard among their professional drivers. (May 98)

Based on my personal experience with this trucking professional company that was founded in 1947 in a small rural town in Alberta by four founding fathers and built on a proud history of family principles and values without a doubt with this behavior towards one injured professional driver in their charge.

Fails in all their obligations to professional drivers who make a living in the demanding industry in setting the proper example and its representation of and being role model for the entire trucking industry in all of Canada including the United States of America. 

I believe the company’s attitude is a reflection of a more serious problem on a larger scale of abuse and neglect inside the trucking industry as a whole than it is willing to acknowledge and take responsibility for when it comes to professional drivers/employees’ rights and the need for enforcement to ensure equality, fairness, honesty, respect, safety, support, transparency (Full Disclosure) and address publicly to correct and make it right when they do wrong.

In my opinion no respected member in the trucking industry (as demonstrated in my case) or in any industry regardless of good standing or received awards and recognitions from an association or organization of its peers or government body both provincial or federal and via media attention, through grandstanding and posturing cannot be permitted to have their own set of rules to follow and be permitted to decide if an employee’s injury is work-related above medical reports and placed on their Private Insurance Employee Group Benefits Plan based on personal opinion or belief system company officials may have in their day to day operations in any province.

Then officials decide if the supporting documentation provided to them at the time be reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board or withheld then termination of employment without just cause while on approved supervised and paid medical leave seeking appropriate treatment.

While on the company’s group employee disability benefits policy that continues over 25 years while demonstrating a blatantly disregard and show a lack of respect of all government acts and regulations that is intended to protect the employee, not the employer as they may believe.

Calling out employers in the Alberta Trucking Industry, its members (as in my case) by name in and in the law courts if necessary or any industry you are employed in regardless of occupation to challenge their integrity, loyalty, professionalism, received awards and recognition and commitments on safety and upholding and protecting the rights of its professional drivers.

Throughout a disability claim as a result of an unforeseen circumstance against all supporting medical documentation and specialists’ reports and your received awards and recognition for having strong work ethics, integrity, and being a valued employed including Pre-Employment (Pre-Injury) Status documents as supported in my case.

Keeping them Honest through Accountability: to prevent what has occurred to me personally to not to be repeated to others this ideology towards professional drivers’ in the Alberta Trucking Industry and nationwide is beyond words and nothing short of self-serving and negligence and needs to be addressed in a public setting and exposing the company by name, to prevent these employment standards and human rights abuse from continuing and put an end to this “old school trucking” mentality.

You must first discuss with legal counsel the obligations you have in disclosing in writing to a potential new employer any pre-existing and permanent medical condition that requires Duty to Accommodate with modified duties (never sign a medical release or waiver) when or if you can return to employment based on Legal Independent Medical Reports, an Occupational Functional Capacity Evaluation and Vocational Assessment which determines your capabilities and limitations.

It is your legal counsel and your responsibility to follow through on this no exceptions!

Entering the Trucking Industry for the first time to learn how to be a professional driver in the province Alberta and contribute the newly acquired skills I would certainly have reservations of face value words promising of excellent wage and benefit package, positive change, and quality of lifestyle.

“If we operate without grandstanding, without prejudice, without selfishness, and carry an open mind, and a willingness to serve, we will create an opportunity to become real professionals.”

President – Chief Execute Officer

Bob Siluch

My Advice: for professional drivers seeking employment in this demanding industry in Alberta, in my opinion, be very cautious of any verbal claims company officials make regarding equal health care coverage and wage loss benefits in their group disability policy compared to the Workers’ Compensation Board Act. Read the policy and take a copy to your accountant and legal counsel for review and advice.

Do not put your trust in company officials and its Human Resources and Compliance and Safety Departments as evident in my injury claim.

Some company Group Benefits Plan in the trucking industry may provide only the minimum coverage: 

For example

Short Term: 

66.7% of weekly earnings to a maximum benefit equal to the maximum weekly payment under the Employment Insurance Act. (7 Day waiting period to Maximum Benefit Period of 26 weeks) 

Long Term: 

66.7% of your monthly earnings to a maximum benefit of your weekly earnings or 85% of your pre-disability take-home pay, whichever is less.  (181 days waiting period to Maximum Benefit Period to age 65), (overtime not included) and (CPP Disability Pension is deducted monthly).

Life Insurance Coverage may also be included however; company officials may attempt to deceive you into believing that you are not entitled after Termination of Employment while their Group Benefits Plan continues. (As demonstrated in my case via letter Ref: December 5, 2005) Be aware of this tactic!

A typical Employee Long Term Group Disability Policy may not provide the most essential coverage:

For example

A). Effective medical treatment and preventative treatments;

B). Standard rehabilitation and retraining;

C). Certain out-of-pocket medical expenses;

D). Expert medical reports or specialist examinations;

E). Permanent partial disability benefits;

F). Prescription Drugs including Diabetic, Dental Care, Eye Exams, Eye Glasses, Hearing Aids as in my case;

G). Benefits not indexed for inflation. Meaning each year, you will receive less in real money living below the poverty line further affecting your standard of living and possibly be abandoned by the company and officials in their failure in commitment to provide the necessary ongoing support to you the injured professional driver. As demonstrated and is well documented in my case while employed with a “professional” trucking company in the province of Alberta.

Questions to ask yourself before applying with any professional trucking company:

1). Can this company meet my expectations as a professional company are they thrust worthy, honest and follow the rules as they claim and is it worth it for me to contribute my professional driving skills and corresponding attitude to the growth of the company and what will I receive in return?;

2). Is the company’s Group Disability Policy equal to that of the Workers’ Compensation Board Policy as officials may claim?;

3). Do Human Resources and Compliance and Safety Department officials believe that the company is exempted from complying with W.C.B. regulations on reporting work-related injuries or do they follow the mandate set out by our Government Acts and Regulations in protecting injured workers?;

4). Do Human Resources and Compliance and Safety Department officials take a proactive approach in monitoring your claim if either on the Workers’ Compensation Board or the company’s Insurer Provider to ensure fairness and transparency (Full Disclosure) in protecting my rights as an injured worker and will my primary physician and I be included in any decisions made that affect my employment status and future with the company?;

5). Will Human Resources and Compliance and Safety Department officials provide the necessary assistance and offer to take the time and to meet in person to ensure that you understand the rules  answering my list of written questions I may have regarding my rights including all Government Acts and Regulations including Workers’ Compensation Board Policy, and the company’s Group Short and Long Term Disability Policy requirements outlining both employees obligations and employers obligations, 

6). Will I be treated accordingly with a corresponding professional attitude that includes equality, dignity, fairness, honesty, and respect?;

7). Will officials hold themselves accountable to the company’s moral standards and code of ethics of professionalism and high standards in which they claim to instill with family principles and values and uphold when it comes to protecting the rights of and how it treats their valued employees/professional driver on approved supervised medical leave?;

8). Will the trucking industry and respected members that promotes itself as a family ordinated and safe industry for professional drivers to work in and make a career of offer assistance and provide support if I suffer from an injury (caused by work or not)?;

9). Is there an association or trustworthy member(s) in the trucking industry that I can contact to address concerns that I may have and to ensure that my rights are protected as a professional driver and if I believe the company is being abusive, not cooperating or not being forthcoming with the rules set out by our provincial and federal government that has a direct effect on my rights, safety, health, and well-being and if so is there a contact list available to me and where can I obtain a copy of this information?

About the author

Bob Siluch
By Bob Siluch

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