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Bad driving — not hernia — reason for B.C. man's firing, court finds

A Coquitlam trucker who allegedly drove on exploded tires lost his job because of poor driving skills, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.
trucking week
It appears bad driving was the reason for a Coquitlam trucker being fired, a Federal Court of Appeal ruling suggests.

A Coquitlam trucker who claimed he was fired due to his hernia problems was let go because of a consistently bad driving record, according to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Viorel Marian Rosianu was a long-haul trucker for Western Logistics Inc., employed January 2011 through November 2013.

The Dec. 17 court decision said Western ultimately terminated Rosianu after he continued to drive a vehicle even though a rear axle on the truck’s trailer was locked up.

“Mr. Rosianu continued to pull the trailer until the tires exploded,” court documents said. “He speeded excessively, despite the dangerous road conditions that day, which included snow and ice. Even when a motorist pulled Mr. Rosianu over to let him know that his tires had exploded and that there was tire debris flying across the highway, Mr. Rosianu allegedly dismissed him and continued driving.”

The case was reported, ultimately triggering his firing, the court said. It was the latest in a series of workplace incidents he had been reportedly cautioned about.

Rosianu did not dispute the final issues, the three judges noted.

“Mr. Rosianu argues that these are insufficient reasons to terminate his employment because he was a good truck driver, never lost his licence, and had a ‘road star’ insurance record,” the court said.

Rosianu, however, has maintained the true reason for his termination is that he had a disability that Western was not willing to accommodate.

“In particular, he has had two prior hernia operations (in 1998 and 2011) that preclude him from lifting objects weighing in excess of approximately 23 kilograms,” the court said.

He filed a complaint with Employment and Social Development Canada, which said the complaint was unfounded. He then filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), which decided further inquiry was unwarranted.

A CHRC investigator said Rosianu wasn’t required to load or unload trucks in the performance of his duties. She also found the termination came 24 months after hernia surgery.

The Federal Court declined to hear Rosianu’s request for a judicial review of the CHRC decision, leading to the appeal court’s involvement.

The appeal court found the CHRC and the Federal Court were correct in handling Rosianu’s complaints.

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