Case In Point
Court Orders Condo Resident to Cease and Desist her Uncivil Conduct Toward the Condo Corporation’s Staff
Date: July 20, 2017
In a brief decision, York Condominium Corp No 163 v Robinson, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently ordered a resident/owner of a condominium unit (Resident) to cease and desist from “uncivil or illegal conduct” that violated the rules of the condominium corporation (Condo) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The dispute in this case centered around the actions of the Resident, who was described as being deeply concerned about the governance of the Condo and maintenance of the building. She was so concerned that she became a “habitual email writer,” frequently bringing maintenance issues to the attention of the Condo. She did so, however, by using degrading names, insulting language, body shaming, name calling, and other types of coarse and rude language directed at staff.
The Resident’s verbal and written abuse of staff persisted despite the requests by the Condo to stop. The Condo then brought an application before the Court, arguing that a remedy was appropriate because its office staff should not have to endure this type of behaviour in the workplace.
Justice Morgan agreed. He found that the Application for a Cease and Desist Order was a reasonable step taken by the Condo to enforce and comply with its legal duties to protect its workers from workplace harassment both under the OHSA and the Condominium Act.
Accordingly, the Court ordered that the Resident cease and desist from her “uncivil or illegal conduct” and refrain from “verbally or in writing abusing, harassing, threatening, or intimidating any employee or representative of the Applicant” (para 17). She was also ordered to cease conducting herself in a way that was likely to cause injury (psychological or otherwise) to an employee of the Condo.
This case is of interest to employers as it highlights that an employer’s duty to protect its workers can go as far as pursuing legal remedies against individuals through the courts. It is also clear that the courts are, in appropriate cases, willing to impose restrictions on an individual who is engaging in uncivil conduct or workplace harassment that is having a negative impact on employees.