Arbitrator Reinstates Sleepy Security Guard

by Dentons
Contact

[author: Andy Pushalik]

An employer’s ambiguous disciplinary policy and lenient past disciplinary practice has caused it to lose an otherwise strong just cause dismissal case.

After several security lapses at its Port Huron uranium conversion facility, Cameco Corp. conducted a “security readiness test and audit” of its night shift on April 17, 2011. At approximately 3:30 AM two managers from Cameco’s Security Department breached the facility’s security perimeter. Although the breach set off an alarm and was captured by monitors in the main gate house, the would-be intruders were not intercepted. Instead, the managers were able to travel unimpeded to the main gate house where upon arriving, they discovered the Grievor, a plant guard and supervisor, and one of his subordinates fast asleep.

Both employees were fully reclined and had their feet up on the desk. The Grievor had also removed his safety boots. It was subsequently acknowledged that the Grievor had watched a movie while on shift and that contrary to company policy, he had filled out his shift log at the beginning rather than the end of his shift. As a result, the Grievor’s log was not an accurate reflection of the assignments or events that had actually happened during his shift.

Given the Grievor’s multiple infractions of company policy and the significant safety risk posed by his dereliction of duty, Cameco terminated his employment, claiming just cause.

At the arbitration hearing that followed, the union denied that the Grievor had intended to fall asleep. Alternatively, the union argued that the Grievor was ill and that he had only taken off his safety boots because his feet were sore. The union further argued that Cameco should be prevented from relying on the Grievor’s movie watching and poor log keeping since Cameco had not instituted a clear policy on either of these matters nor had it consistently enforced any sort of rule regarding such conduct. However, most importantly, the union argued that because Cameco’s disciplinary policy listed “sleeping on the job” as misconduct which warrants only a verbal or written warning, it could not depart from its own policy and institute a punishment that was more severe.

Despite recognizing the importance of maintaining the facility’s security, the arbitrator nonetheless ordered the Grievor’s reinstatement (albeit to a lower level position and according to the terms of a “last chance” agreement). The arbitrator agreed with the union that Cameco had effectively condoned the Grievor’s conduct with respect to the movie watching and log keeping and therefore could not now rely on either of those matters in support of its decision to terminate the Grievor’s employment. The arbitrator ruled that the “Grievor’s falling asleep and apparent ‘nesting’, given his duties and the potential catastrophic consequences of his failure to attend diligently to them, is on the legal standard, just cause for termination”. However, the ambiguity in Cameco’s disciplinary policy and its apparent past practice of issuing warnings to employees who had previously been found sleeping meant that the employer did not have just cause.

Cameco Corporation v United Steelworkers, Local 8562 - http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onla/doc/2012/2012canlii2594/2012canlii2594.pdf

 

Written by:

Dentons
Contact
more
less

Dentons on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!