BILL NO. 125

(as introduced)

1st Session, 60th General Assembly
Nova Scotia
55 Elizabeth II, 2006



Private Member's Bill



Retail Workers' Right to Refuse Work Act



Darrell Dexter
Cole Harbour



First Reading: November 23, 2006

Second Reading:

Third Reading:

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An Act Permit
Retail Workers to Refuse Work

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 This Act may be cited as the Retail Workers' Right to Refuse Work Act.

2 In this Act,

(a) "committee" means a joint occupational health and safety committee established pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act;

(b) "Division" means the Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Department of Environment and Labour;

(c) "employee" means a retail worker;

(d) "employer" means an employer as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act;

(e) "officer" means an occupational health and safety officer appointed pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and includes the Director of Occupational Health and Safety or any person designated by the Director pursuant to that Act to act on behalf of the Director.

(f) "representative" means a health and safety representative selected pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

3 (1) Any employee may refuse to do any act at the employee's place of employment where the employee has reasonable grounds for believing that the act is likely to endanger the employee's health or safety or the health or safety of any other person until

(a) the employer has taken remedial action to the satisfaction of the employee;

(b) the committee, if any, has investigated the matter and unanimously advised the employee to return to work; or

(c) an officer has investigated the matter and has advised the employee to return to work.

(2) Where an employee exercises the employee's right to refuse to work pursuant to subsection (1), the employee shall

(a) immediately report it to a supervisor;

(b) where the matter is not remedied to the employee's satisfaction, report it to the committee or the representative, if any; and

(c) where the matter is not remedied to the employee's satisfaction after the employee has reported pursuant to clauses (a) and (b), report it to the Division.

(3) At the option of the employee, the employee who refuses to do any act pursuant to subsection (1) may accompany an officer or the committee or representative, if any, on a physical inspection of the workplace, or part thereof, being carried out for the purpose of ensuring others understand the reasons for the refusal.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection 50(8) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act , an employee who accompanies an officer, the committee or a representative, as provided in subsection (3), shall be compensated in accordance with subsection (7), but the compensation shall not exceed that which would otherwise have been payable for the employee's regular or scheduled working hours.

(5) Subject to any applicable collective agreement, and subsection (3), where an employee refuses to do work pursuant to subsection (1), the employer may reassign the employee to other work and the employee shall accept the reassignment until the employee is able to return to work pursuant to subsection (1).

(6) Where an employee is reassigned to other work pursuant to subsection (5), the employer shall pay the employee the same wages or salary and grant the employee the same benefits as would have been received had the employee continued in the employee's normal work.

(7) Where an employee has refused to work pursuant to subsection (1) and has not been reassigned to other work pursuant to subsection (5), the employer shall, until clause (1)(a), (b) or (c) is met, pay the employee the same wages or salary and grant the employee the same benefits as would have been received had the employee continued to work.

(8) A reassignment of work pursuant to subsection (5) is not discriminatory action pursuant to Section 45 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act .

(9) An employee may not, pursuant to this Section, refuse to use or operate a machine or thing or to work in a place where

(a) the refusal puts the life, health or safety of another person directly in danger; or

(b) the danger referred to in subsection (1) is inherent in the work of the employee.

4 Where an employee exercises the employee's right to refuse to work pursuant to subsection 3(1), no employee shall be assigned to do that work until the matter has been dealt with under that subsection, unless the employee to be so assigned has been advised of

(a) the refusal by another employee;

(b) the reason for the refusal; and

(c) the employee's rights pursuant to Section 3.

5 Sections 45 to 57 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act apply mutatis mutandis to a refusal to work by an employee pursuant to this Act.

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