Worker assaulted by client fights to get job back
A provincial employee is fighting to get his job back after being fired following an attack that he says made it impossible to work.
"It was a job I did for 23 years and it was a pleasure to go to work each day," said former employment counsellor Peter Boyko.
That changed in October 2008 when Boyko was attacked on the job.
"He hit me repeatedly upon the head, the face, the neck, arms, you name it and it was just non-stop," he said.
While Boyko's physical injuries healed, he became emotionally fragile. He twice tried to return to work but found he was afraid to deal with clients.
"The fear was so tremendous that I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a panic attack," he said.
Boyko said he suffered from chest pains, gastrointestinal distress and dizziness.
Request for new job turned down
His request to be placed in a different job was turned down. The Workers’ Compensation Board eventually cut off his benefits and he was fired in January.
"Why did the government hang him out to dry?" asked injured workers advocate Gail Cumming. She wants Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk to intervene in the case.
"Pay attention. This man has emotional problems," Cumming said. "And if it is work-related, re-open that claim and also work with the employer and get him back to work."
Lukaszuk thinks that would be unfair and believes Boyko should continue his appeals to the WCB and the employer.
"If the facts truly back what he feels is true -- and I don't doubt his feelings -- then he will receive justice at the end of the day," Lukaszuk said.
Cumming thinks it could take a year for the appeal to be heard. In the meantime, Boyko's employment insurance benefits will run out and he'll likely have to go on social services.
"Peter's not money hungry. He's not looking for somebody to take care of him. He's trying to get somebody to guide him and assist him into employment that he can maintain his lifestyle, he can support himself and that he can do the job until he retires. That's what he wants," Cumming said.
"He's never asked anyone for a handout."