Canadian Labour Reporter

August 24, 2020

Canadian Labour Reporter is the trusted source of information for labour relations professionals. Published weekly, it features news, details on collective agreements and arbitration summaries to help you stay on top of the changing landscape.

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August 24, 2020 costing him, and what we could do to make sure that the path for- ward is the best possible path for- ward." The story was covered in other news media and the comments drew criticism for reflecting a problematic attitude towards sex- ual assault. The university investigated and found that Gavlas had known about the charges when Meyer joined the volleyball team in 2016 but didn't tell his supervisor. Gav- las claimed he didn't know the details and Meyer had told him he was pleading not guilty. He claimed Meyer had only told him he was taking a plea deal with a guilty plea in early 2018. He ac- knowledged he should have con- tacted the media team before commenting to the media and recognized that he had put the university in a bad position. Gavlas also explained that while it was his job to recruit play- ers, Meyer had contacted him after transferring to the univer- sity because of the sexual assault incident at his previous school because Gavlas knew Meyers and his family. On May 17, the university ter- minated Gavlas' employment for a "lack of judgment" in recruiting Meyer and failing to inform the university, as well as commenting to the media without vetting the media request through "appro- priate university personnel." His letter of termination stated that his position as a head coach re- quired "a higher duty of trust and accountability" which had been broken and deemed irreparable. The arbitrator found that there was no policy that prohibited the recruitment of a student athlete convicted or charged of a crimi- nal offence. In addition, Gavlas didn't actively recruit Meyer, he honestly believed there was noth- ing preventing him from adding Meyer to the volleyball team, and he believed Meyer was pleading not guilty, said the arbitrator, not- ing that Gavlas wasn't aware of the details at the time. The arbitrator also found that there was no media policy for coaches and Gavlas had never had to vet his media requests before. "I am inclined to accept the union's view that the University of Saskatchewan panicked and act- ed rashly in dismissing [Gavlas]," said the arbitrator. "[Gavlas] was the scapegoat." The arbitrator agreed that Gav- las ought to have known that the recruitment of a player with a sex- ual assault charge was something management should know, if not at the start then when he learned of the guilty plea months before the story came out. This was a breach of his duty to the univer- sity and warranted discipline, said the arbitrator. The arbitrator considered Gav- las' 26 years of service, his coop- eration with the investigation, his concern over how the incident would affect the university, and the fact that the only misconduct was failing to report the recruit- ment of Meyer — the latter of which could be remedied through progressive discipline as outlined in the collective agreement. The university was ordered to rein- state Gavlas with compensation for loss of wages and benefits. Reference: Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Assn. and University of Saskatchewan. William Hood — arbitrator. Marie Stack for employer. Gary Bainbridge. for union. July 13, 2020. 2020 CarswellSask 368 No policy against bringing in charged player: Arbitrator B.C. worker saved by service, admission at hearing suspension for breach of B.C. Hydro's alcohol and drug policy, and a written warning for insolent and defiant conduct. On Sept. 5, 2018, Vanegas was working at a hydro substa- tion with a subforeman and an electrician. The subforeman had switching authority on the as- signment. The load tap changer (LTC) — a mechanical device that carries electrical load current at the sub- station — was to be left in auto- matic mode while work was per- formed, as per the local operating order for the substation. How- ever, while they were working, Vanegas heard the LTC operating and expressed concern to the sub- foreman, who said there wasn't a problem leaving it in automatic mode but offered to turn it off. Vanegas argued that the subfore- man couldn't turn it off himself so the latter offered to call the office. However, Vanegas didn't request the call. Instead, Vanegas left the work area and called the office himself, as he felt the LTC should be in manual mode. The office advised Vanegas to call his manager, who responded that the LTC could be put in manual mode. However, the manager wanted to know why Vanegas didn't talk to the subforeman, so he called a meeting the next day. Vanegas said he hadn't called a safety stop — a procedure where one em- ployee calls all crew to stop work — because no one had been work- ing at the time. Vanegas became angry and ag- gressive, getting up from his chair and yelling — other employees in the office reported that they could hear him. The manager asked him to sit down and said he just wanted to find out what hap- pened. However, Vanegas got up and said he was going home. The manager decided to send him home due to his aggressive behav- iour. B.C. Hydro terminated Vane- gas' employment on Sept. 18 for his behaviour at the meeting and his "history of volatile and aggres- sive behaviour towards your co- workers and management, your insubordination and your disre- gard for safety-related workplace policies and procedures" which irrevocably damaged the employ- ment relationship. The union argued that termi- nation was excessive. Vanegas claimed the manager had been speaking loudly at the meeting and he had become frustrated because he believed he was being accused of something. He also felt belittled when told to sit down. The arbitrator noted that while Vanegas didn't call a safety stop as dictated by policy, Venegas was right in that it wasn't necessary at the time. His failure to follow pro- cedure by calling the office and his manager to discuss a safety concern warranted coaching of proper protocol not discipline, said the arbitrator. However, the arbitrator found that Vanegas was "agitated, loud and insubordinate" during the meeting. It was only an investi- gative meeting and Vanegas re- acted strongly to the manager's attempts to sort things out — be- haviour worthy of discipline, said the arbitrator. Vanegas had a disciplinary re- cord with similar behaviour, but he had more than 10 years of ser- vice and his conduct in the meet- ing was spur-of-the-moment. He didn't take responsibility at the time, but the arbitrator found him to be more aware of his behaviour at the hearing. B.C. Hydro was ordered to reinstate Vanegas, but with no compensation for lost pay and the time between the termination and reinstatement to serve as a suspension to send "a strong mes- sage about his conduct." Reference: B.C. Hydro and Power Authority and IBEW, Local 258. Mark Brown — arbitrator. Delayne Sartison, Sarah Dickson for employer. Natalie Gidora for union. Sept. 13, 2019. 2019 CarswellBC 4126

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