Legal News

Employer Incarcerated for Unsafe Workplace

In August of 2010, the Workers’ Compensation Board obtained an injunction against an employer for using dangerous practices while working in the asbestos removal business, including exposing workers to asbestos without protection and forging hazardous material reports to conceal the danger.

After being served with the injunction, Mr. Moore continued to operate an asbestos abatement business, demolishing 15 or 16 work sites. The WCB applied to the BC Supreme Court for a contempt order. The judge declined to find Mr. Moore in contempt based on an ambiguity in the injunction. The WCB appealed to the Court of Appeal, which found Moore guilty of contempt of court for breaching the injunction. The matter was remitted to the British Columbia Supreme Court for sentencing.

On January 24, 2012, Mr. Moore was sentenced to incarceration for 60 days. The presiding judge noted the reluctance of the Court to incarcerate people for the crime of contempt of court. However, incarceration was found to be justified in the circumstances because Mr. Moore had flaunted a court order intended to protect worker safety; had begun disobeying the injunction within a day of receiving it and had continued to do so for an extended period of time.

Original decision on contempt:Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia v. Moore, 2011 BCSC 459

Reversal on Appeal: Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia v. Moore, 2011 BCCA 407

Sentencing: Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia v. Moore, 2012 BCSC 109