Sleeping on the job gets shelter employee sacked

Arbitrator rules employee unlikely to doze off again
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 03/17/2014

Christine Goomansingh — a front line worker at St. Simon’s Shelter in Toronto — was fired for sleeping while on duty and for a vicious voicemail message left on a supervisor’s cellphone.

Goomansingh had been working for the shelter for five years when she was fired on Oct. 9, 2013. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 206 filed a grievance on her behalf, arguing termination was too harsh of a punishment.

The voicemail message Goomansingh left for shelter supervisor Foster Friday-Cockburn was personal in nature, the union argued. Goomansingh testified she was sexually intimate with Friday-Cockburn on more than one occasion in 2013 and that the pair was close until September of that year. Goomansingh testified she left the voicemail on Friday-Cockburn’s cell phone on Sept. 21, 2013, after finding out he had become sexually involved with another employee.