# 2014-115 - Medical Employment Limitation (MEL)

Medical Employment Limitation (MEL)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2015–02–25

The grievor was deployed on an exercise within Canada despite having been awarded the following Medical Employment Limitation (MEL): Avoid uneven ground. Shortly after his arrival on the exercise, the grievor's condition worsened and he was assigned more restrictive MELs, which eventually led to his return to his parent unit. The grievor felt that his MELs were not respected and that he should have had access to disability accessible facilities since he required the assistance of a cane for mobility.

The Initial Authority (IA) did not adjudicate the grievance because the grievor did not authorize an extension to the prescribed time limit. However, the IA provided an analysis of the file indicating that the grievor was employed at a static Command Post and within his MELs. He supported the Commanding Officer's position and indicated that the grievor was not exposed to what he would consider uneven ground. The IA also indicated that it was the role of the medical personnel to advise on the necessity for the disability accessible facilities, however no advice was provided, therefore no facilities were considered.

The Committee found that the grievor's MEL did not preclude him from being deployed, provided he was employed within the scope of his limitations. In examining the area in which the grievor was employed, the Committee found that it consisted of uneven ground and the grievor should not have been employed in that area. With respect to the grievor's request for access to disability accessible facilities, the Committee reviewed Defence Administrative Order and Directive 5023-1 and found that the Universality of Service entails that CAF members who are fit for deployment must be able to use field facilities.

The Committee recommended that it be acknowledged that the grievor was employed in breach of his MEL during the exercise.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–08–26

The FA did not agree with the Committee's recommendation that it should be acknowledged that the grievor, injured to his hip, was employed in breach of his MEL during an exercise. For the Committee, the evidence on file revealed that the nature of the camp, an open field, constituted of gravel roads, trees, bushes, shrubs, green areas, dirt areas and good sized loose rocks, met the definition of "uneven ground". The FA found that the Committee adopted a narrow interpretation of "uneven ground": it was his view that the grievor's MEL was meant to preclude cross terrain foot such as forests, hills and ravines, not moving on foot in a bivouac on prepared surfaces.

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