|Honda ordered to pay $500,000 in damages|
|April 20, 2005
A Canadian court of justice ordered Honda Canada to pay $500,000 in punitive damages to one of its former employees. The
penalty, reported as the stiffest ever in an employment case in Canada, was imposed for the company’s conduct in the handling
of an employee suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Kevin Keays, 38, started work with Honda when it first opened an assembly plant in Alliston, Ontario in 1986. Keays began to
experience health problems a few years later and was diagnosed with CFS in 1996, going on and off disability insurance for the
next two years. Keays was forced to return to work in 1998 after these benefits were terminated.
Returning to fulltime work, Keays soon began missing days of work, something his doctor had advised would occur due to the
illness. Keays made repeated attempts to work out an accommodation with management at the Honda plant, a place where
workers are not represented by a union, including hiring a lawyer to represent his interests. Despite his efforts Keays was fired
in March 2000.
The court strongly criticized Honda for firing the worker, describing the company’s actions as planned and deliberate, forming a
protracted corporate conspiracy against Keays. “He was absolutely alone and without resources. The deck was stacked
against him and he was only a minnow compared to the Leviathan that Honda represented,” said Justice McIsaac.
It is has been reported that Honda plans to appeal the decision.
The CAW has an organizing campaign underway at Honda, with hundreds of workers signed up.
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Source: CAW News Now