Probationary employees grieve dismissal

Onus of proof rests on union
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/29/2016

Four probationary employees — Justin O’Leary, John Barbour, David McCormack and Mark Peddle — were fired from Labatt Breweries Newfoundland on March 5, 2014.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) Local 7004 filed a grievance on their behalf, arguing the workers were discriminated against on the grounds of union activity. The employer raised a preliminary objection that the grievance was not arbitrable because O’Leary, Barbour, McCormack and Peddle were probationary employees and, therefore, did not have access to the grievance and arbitration procedure.

The objection was denied and arbitrator James Oakley proceeded to review the employer’s decision to dismiss the employees to determine whether the terminations were arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.