Termination excessive for safety violation

The grievor had recently been disciplined for failing to use proper safety equipment. On the final occasion, he was terminated. The employer considered it a culminating incident. The arbitrator found that, due to his age, length of service and undisclosed disability, a demotion was the proper outcome.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 07/22/2011

A worker was fired for failure to wear personal protective equipment while handling toxic substances. The employer said the safety violation was a culminating incident. The union argued that termination was excessive.

Employed by a manufacturer of paint and coatings, T.O. had 13 years of mostly discipline-free service. His job designation was “filler.” In the course of his work, T.O. was required to handle and pour various coatings and finishes. Many of the coatings are toxic and require careful handling.

T.O. was fired on January 31, 2011 for failure to wear personal protective equipment while handling a toxic compound in the workplace.