Mandatory flu vaccination/masking policy upheld

December 08, 2013 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Charles G. Harrison

A recent labor arbitration in British Columbia upheld the employers’ policy requiring annual flu vaccinations or masking for their healthcare staff. Coming as it does during flu season, this is a timely decision. read more…

Individual privacy rights trumped by union’s freedom of expression

November 24, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski and Brandon Wiebe

On November 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a union’s right to collect, use, and disclose personal information for legitimate labor relations purposes outweighs an individual’s right to privacy. In so doing, it declared Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) unconstitutional but suspended the declaration for one year to allow the Alberta legislature time to cure the statute. read more…

Objective medical proof not necessary for accommodation duties to arise

November 10, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 1 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Under human rights legislation across the country, Canadian employers have a general duty to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their work for a period of time because of illness or disability to the point of undue hardship.

This may require an employer to grant an employee a leave of absence from the workplace. But what if the employee doesn’t provide medical documentation to justify such an absence; surely you could deny the leave? Not necessarily, according to an Ontario arbitrator in TRW Canada Ltd. and TPEA (Lockhart). read more…

Contracting out union work – comparing cases

September 15, 2013 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

An interesting series of recent labor tribunal decisions provides lessons about the application of contracting out clauses in union agreements. These cases demonstrate how virtually the same collective agreement requirements can be handled quite differently, with dramatically different outcomes. They also demonstrate that contracting out bargaining unit work in the face of collective agreement restrictions needs to be done in a carefully considered and planned manner. read more…

No more human rights forum shopping?

August 25, 2013 - by: Lindsey Taylor 0 COMMENTS

By Lindsey Taylor

A few weeks ago, we reported on the recent decision in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc., which confirmed that unionized employees aren’t able to bring employment claims to court. Rather, these claims must be brought within the framework of the special legal relationship between the union and the employer, either by way of a grievance or a complaint to the respective Labour Relations Board if there are grounds to do so.

But what about human rights issues – where should a unionized employee address those? And can a unionized employee pursue claims in both arbitration and human rights forums? A recent case from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Mahdi v. Hertz Canada, says “no.” read more…

Court refuses to referee fight regarding plant-closure agreement

July 28, 2013 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Unionized employees in Canada can’t bring employment claims to court. This is so even where there is no longer any collective agreement in place. So ruled an Ontario court recently in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc. read more…

Lessons learned from NHL lockout

January 06, 2013 - by: Brian Smeenk 2 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

Canadians love hockey like Americans love football or baseball. Maybe more. So the lockout of the players by the league’s owners has left a lot of Canadian hockey fans in withdrawal. It’s also led to much more reporting about labor negotiations than we would normally see in the media. read more…

Appeal court upholds temporary injunction against drug and alcohol testing

December 23, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess and Katie Clayton

Canadian courts have been reluctant to allow random drug and alcohol testing in most workplaces. The issue was recently back before the Alberta Court of Appeal. Oil Company Suncor appealed an injunction against its new proposed drug and alcohol testing policy. read more…

Ghost of Christmas Past: Firing Union Supporters Can Come Back to Haunt You

January 03, 2011 - by: David McDonald 1 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

Most Canadian employers are familiar with what they can and can’t do when they’re the target of a union-organizing campaign. Labor legislation across Canada prohibits management from terminating or disciplining employees because of trade union affiliation while a union is attempting to gain representational rights. A recent decision from British Columbia, Playtime Peardonville Ventures Ltd. and USW, Local 2952, warns that those prohibitions may continue in a workplace even months after the employees have voted to get rid of the union.

Union decertified in 2009
The United Steelworkers, Local 2952, had represented the employees at Chances Abbottsford, in British Columbia, since 1997. Chances was a former bingo hall that had been converted into a gaming center. It was clear that some employees weren’t satisfied with the representation they were receiving from the union since employees had unsuccessfully tried to leave the union, or “decertify,” in 2005 and 2008. On their third application, which was filed in July 2009, the employees’ decertification efforts were finally successful and the union’s certification was canceled.

Employees later terminated

By the fall of 2009, Chances was having economic troubles. After reviewing its staffing situation, management decided to reduce the workforce by four people. According to management, the people selected for termination were satisfactory employees, but when compared to others, they were viewed as weaker performers. It terminated the employees in late October 2009.

read more…

Categories: Union-Labor Relations

Employees Fired for Facebook Postings

November 15, 2010 - by: Maria Giagilitsis 1 COMMENTS

By Maria Giagilitsis

It’s becoming more and more clear that an employee’s use of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace may lead to justifiable discipline by an employer. On October 22, 2010, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board released its decision in West Coast Mazda (d.b.a. West Coast Detail & Accessory Centre) and UFCW Local 1518, in which it dismissed the union’s unfair labor practice complaint and agreed that the employer’s decision to terminate two employees for their Facebook postings during certification was appropriate.

Facebook postings
The facts and timeline in this case are critical: The union applied for certification on August 26; the employer received notice of this application on August 27; and the union was certified one week later on September 8, 2010. There were three key individuals involved in this case: one employee who was a key inside organizer with four years’ service; a second employee who was also a union supporter with two years’ service; and a third employee, the manager, with over four years’ service. All three individuals were “friends” on Facebook.

read more…

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