Blog Post #338 – Above and Beyond – The WalMart Judgement

Blog Post #338 – Above and Beyond – The WalMart Judgement

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

By: Samuel Dunsiger

January/February 2013

The massive $1.46 million in compensation awarded last October to a former WalMart employee in Windsor, Ontario has cast a spotlight on bullying and harassment in the workplace.

In September, Meredith Boucher from Chatham, Ontario, filed a lawsuit against WalMart Canada Corp. and Jason Pinnock, her former manager. Boucher alleged that she was forced to leave her position in November of 2009 after suffering mental abuse from Pinnock, who belittled and demeaned her job performance in front of employees she supervised and regularly spoke to her in a coarse and profane manner, notes the statement of claim.

Sheri-Lynn Medaglia, a lawyer with Windsor-based Shulgan Martini Marusic LLP who served as Boucher’s counsel, calls the case “something out of the ordinary” of most wrongful dismissal claims. “The compensation was awarded due to the level of abuse that Ms. Boucher endured,” she says.

Apart from the intentional infliction of mental suffering, she also sought compensation for damages that included sexual harassment, discrimination and assault by an assistant manager, who punched her in the arm on more than one occasion. The statement of claim adds that Pinnock’s conduct constitutes constructive dismissal by creating a “work environment in which no reasonable person would be expected to continue.”

The jury of six unanimously ruled that Boucher was constructively dismissed, which is a form of wrongful dismissal, notes Michele Hollins, a lawyer with Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP in Edmonton. “One in which the employer does not expressly terminate the employment contract but effectively changes the job description or the work environment of the employee so fundamentally that the employee’s job can be said to no longer exist,” Hollins explains. She was awarded $1.21 million against the corporation – $20,000 for breach of contract, $200,000 in aggravated damages, $1 million in punitive damages and $10,000 for assault. She was also compensated $100,000 in damages against Pinnock for inflicting mental suffering and $150,000 in punitive damages.


“An award of punitive damages is always based on the facts of each case,” Medaglia points out, noting that the purpose of the award is to punish or deter the party from undertaking similar wrongdoings in the future.

If the general damages award is not deemed sufficient to serve that purpose, punitive damages can apply. “In this case, the award reflects the jury’s view of the severity of the conduct and the need to deter,” she suggests, noting that the seriousness of the offence – not the size of the company – influences the amount of punitive damages awarded.

“Punitive damages are intended for conduct that is so malicious and outrageous that it is deserving of punishment on its own and only in exceptional cases,” says Carolyn Johnston, a lawyer with Torkin Manes LLP in Toronto. “Punitive damages must focus on the defendant’s misconduct, not on the plaintiff’s loss.”

Hollins suggests that “it would make sense that a large company might be the subject of a larger punitive damage award to accomplish that level of deterrence.”

Alex Roberton, a spokesperson for WalMart Canada Corp. in Mississauga, Ontario, says the company is disappointed with the decision and surprised by the exceptional damages awarded. “We are reviewing the decision in detail and will consider all options, including the possibility of an appeal. WalMart is built on a culture that insists on respect for the individual at all times, without exception, and we will continue to promote respect in every area of our operation.”

Jacqueline Power, assistant professor at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, says even if an appeal is launched, the damage is already done as “these large settlements are publicized and that negative information has hit the market. It motivates [the company] to make a change.”

Boucher’s lawsuit was one of four against WalMart Canada Corp. Three female assistant managers from the east Windsor store, each alleging in separate statements of claim that they suffered similar mistreatment from Pinnock and another manager in 2009 and 2010, are seeking at least $50,000 in damages.


Power says this case may influence how workplace bullying is approached. To her knowledge, this is the largest settlement of its kind in Canadian history. “This is something employers will notice,” she suggests. Power compares the potential impact of this case to sexual harassment, which was an issue that organizations did not take seriously years ago, until heavy-handed settlements changed the public’s attitude.

Johnston says the ruling serves as a good reminder for employers to ensure that they not only have sound harassment policies in place, but that these policies are followed.

For Medaglia, the case “sends a message to employers that workers will not tolerate workplace harassment and that it is imperative for employers to intervene.” She suggests that jurors were displeased with the corporation’s failure to respond to the identified concerns and wanted to ensure that similar events would not be repeated in the future.

“I hope the WalMart case will bring players to understand that [workplace bullying] isn’t a joke,” says Jim Wright, national health and safety specialist with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Canada union in Toronto. “It is very, very serious.”

Power notes that workplace bullying can lead to higher turnover and lower productivity for the company. The physical and mental effects on employees who are bullied at work range from chronic stress and depression to heart disease.

According to the statement of claim, Boucher’s mistreatment “caused her to suffer stress and anxiety to the extent that she was required to seek medical treatment and to receive prescription medication.”

Boucher’s shift duties require her to be responsible for the operations in various store departments, including maintaining records to ensure that store procedures adhere to company requirements and health regulations.

Pinnock began a pattern of conduct to punish Boucher after she refused to falsify maintenance and temperature logs when it came to light that a staff member did not complete the logs for the bakery and dairy departments over the Victoria Day weekend. Boucher was terminated without notice or cause, notes the statement of claim.

Medaglia adds that constructive dismissal may be established where the employer makes a substantial change to a fundamental term of the employee’s contract without the employee’s consent, or where working conditions have become so intolerable that the employee has no alternative but to resign. This can include changes in salary or responsibilities.

“True workplace bullying creates a hostile and untenable environment in which no employee should be without redress,” Hollins says, adding that the threshold for proving constructive dismissal is always a matter of degree. “How different is the current situation from the initial employment contract or, in the case of workplace harassment, from a reasonable or tolerable workplace?”


Boucher’s refusal to falsify maintenance records also brings to light the issue of workplace insubordination. “If I ask you as an employer to rob a bank, it is not insubordination since it is against the law,” Wright cites by way of example. “If I ask you to go help load the truck and if you say, ‘No, that is not part of my job,’ then that is insubordination.”

Wright notes that mitigating circumstances need to be considered when dealing with insubordinate employees. They include the employee’s work history, the situation at hand and how long the employee has been with the company.

Power says “the discipline should be task or behaviour-oriented” when addressing insubordination in the workplace.

The high damages awarded in this case underscores the importance of not taking workplace harassment lightly. “There has been a movement towards stopping bullying both at the workplace and elsewhere,” Wright says. “The WalMart decision brings to light these things.”

My opinion,

I think everything was said that was needed to be said. Section 32.0.1 of the OHSA was created because the Ministry of Labour realized that workplace violence and harassment was becoming more of a threat to the workplace and was being recognized and a leading cause of workplace absenteeism. Sexual harassment was been on the books for a while now but violence and any other type of harassment needed to be covered.

Even WALMART has to comply!

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Workplace Harassment and Violence’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP — Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



  1. Elvie Slough

    Everyone loves it whenever people get together and share thoughts. Great blog, keep it up!

  2. Janet Hachey

    I love it!

  3. Sandra

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  4. Stephanie

    Greretings fгom Floridа! I’m bоred to tеars аt work so I decіdеd to сheck out your blog on my iрhone durіng lunch brеak. Excellent!

  5. Marilyn

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  6. Heather

    Finally appears like I really located a blog worthy of reading through.

  7. Monte

    I am so grateful for your article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  8. Alexis

    I recognize your talent!

  9. Mary Lin

    I just like the helpful info you provide for your articles.I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more here regularly. I’m rather certain I’ll be informed many new stuff proper here!

  10. Kenneth

    Im grateful for the blog post. Much thanks again. Want more.

  11. Jeff

    Wow! In the end I got a web site from where I be able to really get useful information regarding my study and knowledge.

  12. Heather Butler

    Good day, I am so excited I found your webpage. I’m really appreciating the dedication you put into your site and detailed information you provide.

  13. Michael

    This has my attention.

  14. Maureen Chamberlain

    Thank you.

  15. Kenneth

    I used to be happy, but now I am glad.

  16. Louise Hill

    I love this site.

  17. Veronica

    You’ve a significant good point of view and I can compare with it. You deserve to have a positive feedback for this.

  18. Nadia

    Wonderful activity!

  19. Nellie

    Hello there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

  20. Cameron

    This is very interesting, You are a very professional blogger.

  21. Gordon

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what you have got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

  22. Kenneth


  23. Rachelle

    I really think you have the right idea.

  24. Kraig Faragoza

    Good post.

  25. Barry

    Hey there! I’m a 1st time reader of your blog. It will not be my last.

  26. Miriam

    Bully for you!

  27. Patricia

    After getting more than 10000 visitors/day to this website, how better can you do?

  28. Pat

    I hope you become very successful!

  29. Ursula

    If you wish for to increase your experiences in health and safety keep visiting this web site.

  30. Jaimie

    I think you have a point!

  31. Andre

    Good article!

  32. Andrea

    A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need.

  33. Sobey

    Major thanks for the blog post.

  34. Nestor

    Hello there I am so happy I found your weblog.

  35. ??? ??????

    Thank you for consisting of the stunning pictures– so open to a feeling of contemplation.|
    ??? ?????? ??? ???

  36. Leonard

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site.

  37. Kenneth

    I think you have a winner here.

  38. Wendy

    You go beyond delivering good information.

  39. Jordan

    Good for you!

  40. Kasey

    I cannot believe the great stories!

  41. Sporty Maghee

    You are one in a million!

  42. Wendell

    It’s very easy to find out any matter on net as compared to books, as I found this article at this site.

  43. Orest

    Many thanks!

  44. Walton

    I think you have a winner here.

  45. Swanson

    I simply could not leave your web site without thanking you.

  46. Wesley

    You have it all right!

  47. Minnie

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  48. Janet Hoy


  49. Xanadu

    You are the best!

  50. Jill

    You are very successful!

  51. Gracie

    No one says it better than you do.

  52. Lilla

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.

  53. Nessie

    There was a time when I would want to do something really similar to this program as I was a kindergarten teacher!

  54. Rosa

    I thank you!

  55. Corrine

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  56. Jackson


  57. Harper

    Length is crucial!

  58. Elissa

    I like it when people get together and share views. Great site,
    stick with it!

  59. Brandon

    You already know for the reasons Wal Mart does not understand!

  60. Margret

    It was difficult to find your posts in google search results.

  61. Lawrence


  62. Linda Whitehead

    I really love this story!

  63. Corrine

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  64. Kandace

    I wanted this all along!

  65. Louise Hill

    I wanted this all along!

  66. Jackson

    You are one of the best!

  67. Kelly Shaunter

    Excellent work!

  68. Valencia

    You have quite a gift!

  69. Sharon

    Thank you!

  70. Calvin Johnson

    Do this more often!

  71. Baxter

    Find out what you need on health and safety by coming here.

  72. Vicki

    More of the same!

  73. George

    Thank you for all of this!

  74. Craig

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  75. Heather Butler

    You are so amazing!

  76. Denisha

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the articles you write.

  77. Hector

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  78. Cheryl

    This has my attention!

  79. Gunter Hall

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  80. Wendy

    Exactly why are all others not as good as you?

  81. Charmaine

    You are so special.

  82. Barrett

    Well done!

  83. Akela

    New questions you raise on health and safety.

  84. Agatha


  85. Alex

    Excellent work!

  86. Albert

    Many thanks!

  87. Arnold

    Extra short write-up demonstrates to all people that you have much to say!

  88. Yancey

    What Everybody Needs To Know About H&S.

  89. Teddy

    Keep up the good work!

  90. Wilson

    I wanted to thank you for all this!

  91. Warren

    I think we should come again often.

  92. Carol Greenfield

    I will come again soon!

  93. Wesley

    Good for you!

  94. Carson

    Thank you!

  95. Brandi

    One of your best!

  96. Colleen

    True information.

  97. Morgan

    Top site!

  98. Harrison

    Many thanks!

  99. Harrison

    You make me read more!

  100. Wesley

    Great article!

  101. Tiffany

    You are amazing!

  102. Edmund

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  103. Desiree

    Thank you!

  104. Dale


  105. Damian

    You have the touch!

  106. Nestor


  107. Danielle

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  108. Chanelle

    You are so good!

  109. Craig Hilpert

    Nicely done!

  110. Craig

    I wonder what comes next?

  111. Sharon Woods

    One of your best!

  112. Frances

    Good article!

  113. Angela

    I wanted this all along!

  114. Clora Francies

    Always the best!

  115. Cheryl

    I will return soon!

  116. Clarine Levendoski

    The very best!

  117. Claribel

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  118. Achilles

    I come here often!

  119. Abraham

    You are the best!

  120. Cathy Awalt

    The work you do here is unique!

  121. Brittany

    I like this type of information!

  122. Brooke


  123. Wexford

    You have my attention!

  124. Quinton

    I love this site!

  125. Wendy Taylor

    Many thanks!

  126. Heather Butler

    I love coming here!

  127. Chandler

    Good for you!

  128. Xiomara

    I will return soon!

  129. Walter

    Many thanks!

  130. MacKenzie

    You are the best!

  131. Cam Hollister

    A new day is dawning. We have a winner blog here.

  132. Cathy Awalt

    I am fed up with sites that do not have the answers.

    Yours certainly does!

  133. Chandler

    Nicely played!

  134. Wendell

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  135. Wendy Taylor

    You can look at that writer in just such a way.

  136. Jennie

    Excellent posting!

  137. Robbin Turnbull

    It’s hard to find well-informed people on health and safety,however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

  138. Sabine

    Hello, all is going sound here and of course every one is sharing data, that’s truly fine, keep up writing.

  139. Theodore

    30,000+ of you, and you can’t think of a thing to say?

  140. Chanelle

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using?

  141. Chester

    Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?

    Please let me know. Many thanks

  142. Linda Whitehead

    We absolutely love your blog!

  143. Joshua


  144. Lyra

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  145. Baddington

    More of the same!

  146. Victoria

    Very well done!

  147. Reg Miskala

    I thank you!

  148. Freddie Nakatsu

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  149. Jacques Cartiere

    Wonderfully written!

  150. Ezra

    Thank you so much!

  151. Gerald

    You are like this story, above and beyond!

  152. Freddie

    I want to read more!

  153. Ann Pinczak

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  154. Harvey

    Finally, someone who gets it!

  155. Kellen


  156. Janet Hoy

    You are so good at this!

  157. Gracie

    Many thanks!

  158. Red Martin

    You are so good at this!

  159. Wessel

    Thank you!

  160. Reggie

    I think we have a winner here.

  161. Marissa

    Wonderfully written!

  162. Drago

    My favourite site!

  163. Red Louis

    You are so good at this!

  164. Edmund

    I cannot wait to read more!

  165. Rebecca

    I love this site!

  166. Charles

    This has my attention!

  167. Teddy

    Good for you!

  168. Daniel

    I wonder what comes next?

  169. Grace

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  170. Gregory

    You have quite a skill!

  171. Jackson

    You are so good at this!

  172. Trixie

    World class!

  173. Tugwell

    Good for you!

  174. Frederick


  175. Sheldon

    More of the same.

  176. Trina

    I will follow you!

  177. Sherlyn

    I think we have a winner here.

  178. Sharon Woods

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  179. Wendy Taylor

    Thanks again for everything!

  180. Wesley

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  181. Gretchen

    I wanted to see more from you!

  182. Gloria

    You are so good at this!

  183. Caleb

    I wonder why I have not been here before!

  184. Ramona

    Nicely done!

  185. Carol Greenfield

    One of your best!

  186. Nestor

    Good for you!

  187. Edison

    Nicely played!

  188. Charmer Mann

    I cannot wait to read more!

  189. Sherman

    You have my full attention!

  190. Wanda


  191. Exeter

    I want to read more from you.

  192. Cathy Awalt

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.

    Please let me know. Many thanks

  193. Gareth

    I thank you!

  194. Louise Hill

    I think we have a winner here.

  195. Gregg

    Good for you!

  196. Penny Kearney

    I would like to say excellent blog!

  197. Jeff

    You are so good to me!

  198. Kalvin

    Excellent work!

  199. Janice

    Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?

  200. Hollister

    Good for you!

  201. Freddie

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  202. Jack Maxwell

    I adore your WordPress design, exactly where did you down load it through?

  203. Kenneth

    Nicely played!

  204. Regan

    I wanted this all along!

  205. Baxter

    Good for you!

  206. Winnifred

    Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new I-phone!

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the excellent work!

  207. Jessie

    You are so good!

  208. Jacqueline

    This has my attention!

  209. Esta

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  210. Carol Greenfield

    Very good website you have here.

    Bless you!

  211. Esther

    I thank you for all this!

  212. Wendy Taylor

    You are one of the best!

  213. Carol Greenfield

    Article writing is fun, if you are familiar with the topic you write it is not difficult.

  214. Danae

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this great article on our site.

    Keep up the great writing.

  215. Elliot

    I was extremely pleased to find this web site.

  216. Jasmine and Delphia

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude!

  217. Matt and Jonathan

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  218. Carrie and Tracie

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.

  219. Luann

    I’m gone to inform my little brother, who is a fan of health and safety data!

  220. Mary Lynn

    Spot on with this posting!

  221. Allan

    Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by accident, and I’m surprised why this accident did not happen before now!

    I bookmarked it.

  222. Reda

    I am also visiting this web site on a regular basis.

  223. Vicky

    I really like this!

  224. Frances

    My relatives all the time say that I am wasting my time here on the net.

  225. Juanita

    More of the same!

  226. Jerry Bowlby

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague.

  227. Victoria Jones

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  228. Marissa

    I cannot wait!

  229. Chandler

    We prefer to honor many online internet sites around the net.

  230. Cheryl Boan

    Well I really liked reading it.

  231. Corrine

    I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great content.

  232. Sharyl and Major

    Its like you read my mind!

  233. Herbert and Brandy

    Superb, what a website it is!

  234. Wesley

    Many thanks!

  235. Carson

    That is the finish of a great write-up.

  236. Corby

    Please keep me posted!

  237. Carol Greenfield

    You are very, very good!

  238. Leon Muratalla

    Great story!

  239. Mary

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.

  240. Tyrell

    This is my first time visit here.

  241. Linnea

    I’ve learn some just good stuff here.

  242. Cory

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!

  243. Octavia

    Appreciate the recommendation.

  244. Kristine

    I need to thank you for this wonderful read!!

  245. Jann

    Exceptional website!

  246. David

    This post is really a nice one.

  247. Christopher

    An impressive share!

  248. Maggie


  249. Nanette

    With having so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagiarism or copyright violation?

  250. Anton

    You’re amazing! Thank you!

  251. Corrine

    Thanks for sharing.

  252. Amelia

    Pretty section of content.

  253. Hubert

    This is really good!

  254. Norman


  255. Bill MacKenzie

    World class!

  256. Bill

    Yes, you have a point!

  257. Maureen Chamberlain

    Nicely worded!

  258. Beverly

    Here is an excellent blog.

  259. Mitchell

    Very few web-sites are this good!

  260. Estelle

    Well done!

  261. Billie

    You are the best!

  262. Charlie

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  263. Wesley

    So far so good!

  264. Xerxes

    Many thanks!

  265. Bill MacKenzie

    This is really good!

  266. Bill MacKenzie

    World class!

  267. Corrine

    Many thanks!

  268. Xavier

    More of the same!

  269. Xavier

    I wanted this all along!

  270. Charles

    You are the best!

  271. Werner

    World class!

  272. Xander

    You are the best!

  273. Charles

    I will follow you!

  274. Carol Greenfield

    Here is a great blog!

  275. Victor Jameson

    I will follow you!

  276. Bianca


  277. Warren

    I will always come back!

  278. Sharon Woodhouse

    Thanks so much for the article.

  279. Carol Greenfield

    You are the best!

  280. Corrine

    This is really good!

  281. Victoria

    This is a really good site!

  282. Wayne Jenkins

    Good luck!

  283. Cathy Awalt


  284. Sharon Woods

    This is really good!

  285. Carol Greenfield

    World class!

  286. Xander

    I think you are right!

  287. Carol Greenfield

    You are the best!

  288. Corrine

    Iwanted this all along!

  289. Wayne

    More of the same!

  290. Ashley McFarlane

    I will follow you!

  291. Nicholas

    I thank you!

  292. Ashley

    I wanted this all along!

  293. Sharon Woodhouse

    Many thanks!

  294. Bill MacKenzie

    World class!

  295. Quinton

    You are the best!

  296. Rebecca

    You are the best!

  297. Norman Best


  298. Debbie

    Good luck!

  299. Shannon

    I wanted this all along!

  300. Xavier

    Wonderful story.

  301. Ashley McFarlane

    Good luck!

  302. Zelda

    This is one of your best!

  303. Kristo


  304. Letha

    I do consider all the ideas you have offered to your post.

  305. Carol Greenfield

    I really like reading your articles.

  306. Victoria

    World class!

  307. Jeanne

    This is a really good blog post!

  308. Nicholas

    World class!

  309. Maureen Chamberlain

    More of the same!

  310. Nicholas

    World class!

  311. Charlie

    Good luck!

  312. Corrine

    World class!

  313. Quinn

    You are the best!

  314. Sean


  315. Juanita

    You are the best!

  316. Nicholas

    More of the same!

  317. Rosalinda

    Great job.

  318. Reagan


  319. Kristan

    I love coming here.

  320. Edward

    I quite like reading an article that will make people think.

  321. Francisca

    I like to find out more and more.

  322. Veda

    That is really a great site.

Post a comment