Does a unionized employee's claim of negligent misrepresentation against an employer fall outside of the jurisdiction of a labour arbitrator and within the jurisdiction of the civil courts?
Rarely has a phrase been so well-intentioned yet so fraught with pitfalls as “zero tolerance”.
The names of people involved in labour arbitration should be disclosed with the arbitrator’s decisions, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so, according to the open-court principle and the public’s interest. The British Columbia Labour Relations Board affirmed the law in a recent review of an arbitrator’s decision. The board also affirmed arbitrators’ discretion to disclose or withhold personal information under the Labour Relations Code and Personal Information Protection Act.
The case arose when a unionized employee was disciplined and the union grieved the punishment. The employee sought to have his name left out from the arbitrator’s decision-or anonymized by using only his initials. The union presented a number of arguments for why grievors’ and witnesses’ names should not be published in arbitration decisions:
- The open court principle does not apply to labour arbitrators, because labour arbitrators are primarily a private dispute mechanism
- Privacy legislation is quasi-constitutional