Discipline Warranted for Failure to Follow Instructions

|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/05/2011

Choosing to first adjust a malfunctioning machine and then repair the defective product that it was producing contrary to a supervisor’s direct order to address the problem in the reverse order, a worker in a meat processing operation was disciplined for misconduct.

An eight-year employee in the company’s “continuous wiener operation,” G.S. operated the “Frankomatic” machine, which injects meat emulsion into casings that are then twisted to make sausage links. While the machine is fully automated, it is the operator’s job to monitor the machine and attach the strands of wieners it produces to sticks, which are then put onto a conveyor and transported to the smokehouse for finishing.

Beginning in October 2008, the company began to take action to address quality control problems in wiener production. Re-training sessions were conducted with employees to clarify expectations and procedures with respect to dealing with defective strands of wieners. The key priority was to repair the problem wieners before they went into the smokehouse.