Canadian Labour Reporter

April 19, 2021

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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22,000 people would attend the St. Patrick's Day event, and the paramedic service decided that it would be too much for its regular paramedic and ambulance con- tingent to handle on its own. It de- cided to contract out four ambu- lances and paramedic crews from two other municipalities. The contracted paramedics worked for 12 hours on March 17 and were based within a perimeter that had been established for the St. Patrick's Day event. The contracted paramedics were assigned only to the event and their ambulances were parked in a staging area to which anyone needing medical atten- tion would be brought on foot by local paramedics who moved through the event as part of a crowd response team. If neces- sary, the ambulances would then transport the patient to a hospi- tal. The contractors understood that they were dedicated to the event and not available to take calls outside the perimeter. The union for Waterloo's paramedics filed a grievance, saying that it wasn't consulted about the contracting-out and employees in the bargaining unit weren't offered the work before outside workers were brought in. It pointed to the collective agreement, which prohibited su- pervisors, managers, and "non- bargaining unit persons" from working on any jobs included in the bargaining unit, and also stipulated that "no permanent employee shall be laid off from work as a result of contracting out present work or services of a kind presently performed by its employees." In addition, the collective agreement included a clause about special events — defined as events where a paramedic or crew is dedicated solely to the event — in its wages and premi- ums section that said part-time paramedics would be scheduled for all special events to avoid overtime where possible, fol- lowed by full-timers if availabil- ity of the former was exhausted. The arbitrator noted that the collective agreement banned "non-bargaining unit persons" from working on jobs included in the bargaining unit, but per- mitted contracting out work, as this was considered in the provision banning layoffs from such work. In this case, the St. Patrick's Day event was a spe- cial event that wasn't included as a job in the bargaining unit, said the arbitrator, noting that there were paramedics on foot and ambulances stationed in a staging area, all dedicated solely to the event. This wasn't normal deployment. Although the union argued that the collective agreement re- quired the use of bargaining unit staff for special events through the requirement that part-time paramedics be scheduled for them, that provision was part of the wages and premiums sec- tion that set the rates for special events and allowed part-time employees to absorb the extra workload of a special event with- out paying overtime rates for full-time employees. It wasn't a prohibition on contracting out work for special events, the arbi- trator said. The arbitrator agreed with the union that not discussing its need for extra resources for the 2018 St. Patrick's Day event with the union in advance may not have been helpful for good la- bour relations, but the collective agreement had no obligation to discuss contracting out with the union unless it would result in layoffs. As a result, the munici- pality had the right to contract outside paramedics to work the special event, said the arbitrator in dismissing the grievance. Reference: Waterloo (Regional Municipality) Paramedic Service and CUPE, Local 5191. Lorne Slotnick — arbitrator. Carl Peterson for employer. Bev Newman for employee. March 17, 2021. 2021 CarswellOnt 3695 required reporters to "maintain professional decorum" and avoid expressing personal opinions that could undermine the credibility of its journalism. The managing director asked Khan to delete the tweet. He didn't think it violated the JSP as other CBC employees had expressed opinions on Twitter, but he com- plied. However, Khan told a journal- ist friend that he had been told to delete the tweet and the friend posted a story online. Khan also told a Maclean's columnist, who tweeted about it. Two weeks later, Khan used a shared CBC laptop to cover the Grey Cup. Afterwards, he left the laptop on his desk without logging out of his Twitter and WhatsApp accounts. Another reporter found the messages to Khan's journalist friends and informed the manag- ing director. The managing director asked the other reporter to send her screenshots and the other report- er found messages complaining about the JSP — referring to CBC management as "a—holes" — as well as WhatsApp messages to friends that contained a word of- ten used as a slur against homo- sexuals. Khan acknowledged telling other journalists about the order to delete the tweet and that his ref- erence to management was inap- propriate, but he said that he felt the CBC wasn't supporting him. The CBC terminated Khan's employment on Dec. 3 for con- tacting external outlets about an internal matter, making disparag- ing remarks about management and policies to outside parties, and using a homophobic slur on WhatsApp, where his profile identified him as a CBC employee. The arbitrator noted that CBC policy permitted personal use of corporate computers and Khan had a reasonable expectation of privacy. He reasonably believed that a coworker who took a shared laptop would log off of his per- sonal accounts, but his coworker looked through his private mes- sages and passed some along to management. The collective agreement stated that "employ- ees have the right to work in an environment that respects their personal privacy and is free from surveillance," which the arbitra- tor noted was rare for a collective agreement and it emphasized the importance of privacy for CBC employees. The arbitrator also found that an employee privately expressing displeasure with an employer pol- icy was not grounds for discipline. As for the perceived homophobic slur, the context of the word as part of private messages to friends had nothing to do with Khan's job, the arbitrator said. The arbitrator also found that Khan telling others of the order to delete his tweet wasn't damag- ing to the CBC, as it was a public broadcaster that "is constantly in the news over controversies that range from the trivial to the weighty." "The grounds cited by the em- ployer for Mr. Khan's termination amounted to, at most, a minor indiscretion, and are far overshad- owed by the breach of his privacy that enabled the employer to dis- cover these activities," said the ar- bitrator. The CBC was ordered to rein- state Khan for the remaining four months of his contract and pay him damages for the breach of his privacy, with the amount to be de- termined later. Reference: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Canadian Media Guild. Lorne Slotnick — arbitrator. Bonnea Channe for employer. Sean FitzPatrick, Michael Thorburn for employee. January 12, 2021. Disparaging messages discovered on corporate laptop Language didn't ban employer hiring out for special events

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