Automatic dismissal provision reasonable

The company had put a policy in place that employees using personal electronic devices could be discipline up to termination. There was to be zero tolerance. The union grieved, claiming the discipline was too harsh. The arbitrator allowed the policy, pointing out that termination would be a last resort and that employees could still grieve the discipline.
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/21/2011

A railway company introduced a zero tolerance policy on the inappropriate use of personal electronic devices. Provisions included automatic discharge for workers who willfully violated the policy. The union grieved.

In November 2010, the company president and chief executive officer addressed a letter to all employees outlining a new policy on the use of personal electronic devices, such as cell phones.

The letter referenced growing safety concerns in the face of emerging scientific consensus on the risks associated with “distracted driving.” Consequently, the employer was adopting a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate use of such devices for any employees working in an operational environment.