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Unionized workers hiring their own lawyers: 3 issues

I often receive requests for consultations from unionized workers dissatisfied with their employer, their union or both. Frequently, this dissatisfaction arises out of the worker having a grievance with the company, but he or she feels that they are not receiving proper representation from their union. Before going ahead and hiring a lawyer outside of their union for advocacy, there are 3 challenges that people in this position should know.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with BYOD guidelines; off duty conduct and conflict of interest; and CHRP enhancements and CCHRA mandate.

 

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Even long-term employees with a clean record can be handed a lengthy suspension when it is warranted

A recent Ontario Grievance Settlement Board case highlights the point that, even where employees are long-term and have a clean service record, they can still be subject to serious discipline if the circumstances are right.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the importance of carefully crafting employment agreement; an employer’s offensive, distasteful and inappropriate’ motivational presentation; and, OHS worker fatality.

 

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‘Obey now, grieve later’ principle applies to management

In recent unreported arbitration decision, the arbitrator confirmed that an “obey now, grieve later” rule applies to management in some cases.

 

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Arbitrator rules employer presentation not discriminatory or anti-union

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In OPSEU (Brydges et al) and the Ministry of Transportation GSB 2012-1012, Arbitrator Dissanayake dismissed a grievance by a number of Ministry of Transportation employees. The employees alleged that an employer presentation asking them to be happy/content with their wages and benefits and comparing them to poor and starving people in developing countries was both discriminatory under the Ontario Human Rights Code and constituted anti-union discrimination which violated the collective agreement (particularly because of upcoming collective bargaining).

 

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Grievor awarded $5,000 for breach of privacy

An interesting case (Edmonton Police Service v Edmonton Police Association), sends a strong message to employers that it is important to respect employees’ privacy interests.

 

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Arbitrator rules profanity during telephone call with manager insufficient to constitute ‘just cause’ for dismissal

Vice-Chair Ian Anderson of the Ontario Labour Relations Board recently ruled in Canadian Union of Skilled Workers v. Hydro One Inc., 2014 CanLII 15069, a construction industry grievance that the employee’s use of profanity during a telephone call with his manager did not constitute conduct sufficient to justify a dismissal for cause.

 

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The Wal-Mart saga: one more chapter

On June 27th, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in the Wal-Mart saga that will have a major impact on employment law in Quebec.

 

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Employee who lied about ability to work justly fired

An Ontario labour arbitrator upheld an employee’s termination for just cause after the employer learned that the employee faked the severity of her injury and ability to perform work for over five years. The arbitrator found that the employer was justified in terminating the employee for just cause because the actions of the employee went to the heart of the employment relationship.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with expanding their disability management programs; a zero tolerance approach to a grievance arising from a case of sexual harassment and assault; and the Canada Pension Plan 2014 contribution rates,

 

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Ruling on randomized alcohol testing

Woman Blowing in Breathalyzer

Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace, particularly randomized testing, has always been a grey area for employers. When is such testing permissible? When is it deemed reasonable in light of safety concerns? The Supreme Court of Canada has answered some of these questions after their long-awaited decision regarding randomized drug and alcohol testing in the case of Irving Pulp and Paper.

 

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Just Us Coffee Co-op – Balancing fair trade and worker rights

On Sunday, April 28, 2013, there was a demonstration outside the Just Us Coffee’s office in Grand Pré to support two former employees of an outlet in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who claim that the fair trade company fired them for attempting to organize their co-workers.

 

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OLRB rules that Ontario employer liable for failing to comply with Bill 168

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has recently found a Company to be in breach of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to comply with its duties under the workplace violence and harassment provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (section 32) (formerly Bill 168).

 

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Slaw: No continuity of business: Target not the successor employer of Zellers employees

On November 8, 2012, Ritu Mahil, Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Labour Relations Board decided that there was not a continuity between Zellers’ business at the Brentwood Mall in Burnaby, B.C. for its employees to be successively employed by Target in Canada. Although the employees would perform similar jobs at Target stores as they had at Zellers, and the transaction agreement confirmed the transfer of leases, pharmacy records and the brand waiver, these things were not sufficient to conclude that there would be a handover of these employees. As a result, the union’s application under Section 35 of the Labour Relations Code (“Code”) for a declaration that Target is a successor employer to Zellers with respect to the business carried on by Zellers at the Brentwood Mall in Burnaby, B.C.was dismissed.

 

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