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    - and -

    IN THE MATTER OF a claim for benefit by
    Diane Ludlow

    - and -

    IN THE MATTER of an appeal to an Umpire by the employer
    from a decision by the Board of Referees given on
    December 10, 1993, at Ottawa, Ontario.


    McGILLIS, J.

    The employer OZ Optics Ltd. appeals from a unanimous decision of a Board of Referees ("the Board") which allowed an appeal by the claimant Diane Ludlow from a Commission ruling that her dismissal was by reason of her own misconduct.

    The principal issue to be determined on this appeal is whether the Board failed to observe a principle of natural justice by denying the appellant and the respondent the opportunity to call witnesses. The question of the credibility of the parties was central to the decision of the Board that the respondent had not been dismissed by reason of her own misconduct.

    At the hearing before the Board, the appellant and the respondent had witnesses present to support their respective versions of the events. The Board refused the requests of both parties to call witnesses on the basis that it "had enough evidence" and did not need to hear from any witnesses other than the actual parties.

    I have no hesitation whatsoever in concluding that the failure of the Board to permit the parties to call witnesses at the hearing constituted a gross denial of natural justice.

    The appeal is allowed and the matter is returned to a differently constituted Board for rehearing and redetermination in accordance with the law.

    D. McGillis


    August 12, 1994