The public inquiry into long-term care homes in Ontario continued in St. Thomas on Thursday with a focus on Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s termination from Caressant Care in Woodstock.
READ MORE: Caressant Care gave Elizabeth Wettlaufer multiple warnings before termination, inquiry hears
The serial killer’s dismissal was appealed by the union and a settlement was reached. While the home had the option to go to arbitration, VP of HR Wanda Sanginesi believed there was a chance that if they lost, Wettlaufer could be reinstated.
Saginesi was cross-examined by the lawyer for the nurses’ union, Kate Hughes.
“You’ve been asked questions about ‘Well, this is because it’s a unionized workplace.’ If this was not a unionized workplace and you wanted to terminate someone, they could sue for wrongful dismissal in front of the courts, is that right? And you would still have to prove cause, is that right?”
“That’s right but they would not have access to reinstatement,” said Sanginesi.
Hughes argued that the union did not receive all of the information from the home.
READ MORE: Administration took 6 days to discover drugs went missing on Wettlaufer’s last day of work, inquiry hears
Sanginesi was asked if she believed at the time that Wettlaufer was a danger to residents.
“I think we believed that she was experiencing problems that were increasing in severity,” she replied.
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“Can you answer my question? Did you believe that she was a risk to residents?” asked Hughes.
“I think I’ve answered your question as best as I can.”
READ MORE: Past employers gave Wettlaufer positive reference checks, despite medication errors and co-worker complaints
Hughes also argued that the employer does not have to follow the “progressive discipline” process before termination when there is a serious incident that puts residents in danger.
She also stated that whether or not Wettlaufer was in a union, she still would have been alone at night with access to insulin.
Sanginesi argued that if Wettlaufer was not part of a union, she would have been fired sooner.