Termination excessive for workplace scuffle

The company had tightened rules to change the culture of the workplace. It tried to make an example of a worker who was involved in a verbal confrontation. However, a combination of provocation, uneven enforcement, a clear disciplinary record and poor re-employment prospects saved his job.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 07/18/2011

A worker was fired following an altercation with a co-worker. The employer said the worker’s conduct violated Mill Rules and was cause for dismissal.

Hired in 1993, T.L. was employed in a paper mill that produces the backing for drywall board. The small plant employed about 75 people. The culture at the male-dominated plant was close-knit and described as an “old boys” club where workers were accustomed settling disputes “like men” in the parking lot.

The mill was purchased in 2006 and efforts were made to remake the culture. A new Code of Conduct prohibited all forms of bullying, violence, threats and intimidation.