Court awards damages to physician dismissed from hospital

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that a physician who was terminated without cause is entitled to damages despite any difficulties he may have had in the workplace, Toronto health lawyer Lonny tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Dismissal of an employee without cause will generally result in a requirement to provide pay notice or payment in lieu of notice unless the contract is frustrated,” says Rosen.

Rosen was commenting on the appeal court’s decision to quash a finding by an Ontario Superior Court judge that a doctor at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was not wrongfully dismissed and, consequently, could not claim damages.

The U.S.-certified anesthesiologist was working towards his Ontario medical licence when he was dismissed.

Rosen, who was not involved in the case and comments generally, notes that in Ontario, U.S.-board-certified physicians can work under a restricted certificate of registration. They have to complete a one-year period of supervision and then pass a practice-ready assessment administered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

The hospital hired the doctor on a one-year contract to work under a supervisor in the department of anesthesia and pain medicine. He was initially allowed to focus on his chosen area, pediatric cardiac anesthesiology, according to background provided in the decision.

“His initial reviews were positive,” Rosen tells AdvocateDaily.com. “His clinical skills were sound, although there were some concerns raised with respect to his interaction with the operating room team.”

However, personality conflicts arose between the doctor and members of the department’s cardiac group, the court said. He felt he was being micromanaged, the decision notes.

“According to the decision, the other team members felt he was not amenable to instruction,” Rosen says.

As a result, his department chief told him he should work in a different area within the department, which he was reluctant to do.

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