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‘Red flags’ were used to assess workplace violence threat; employer’s request for psychiatric assessment was justified

By Adrian Miedema

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that the City of Toronto was justified in requiring an employee to obtain a psychiatric assessment because of ‘red flags’, which included the comment ‘Do you want me to die?’

The employee’s handling of a tense security-related incident involving anti-poverty activists was questioned. When asked by a City security supervisor for more information about the incident, the employee said: ‘Do you want me to die?’ The supervisor testified that he found the comment, ‘Do you want me to die?’ to be concerning and that he felt that he had an obligation to follow up for health and safety reasons. He testified that he was concerned as he did not know what was going on in the applicant’s mind.

Shortly afterwards, the City told the employee that it had made an appointment with a psychiatrist for him to obtain an assessment. The employee testified that he felt humiliated, but that he decided to go for the psychiatric assessment to prove that he was ‘mentally fit’, but that he also filed a complaint with the City’s Human Rights office due to the ‘coercive’ act of sending him for a psychiatric assessment. The employee’s supervisors did not receive the assessment report, but were simply told that the employee was fit to return to work without any restrictions from doing the tasks of the job…

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