Rotating schedule proves too much for single working mom

Employer must accommodate welder's schedule based on family status
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/11/2013

As a single working mother of two toddlers, Renee Cahill-Saunders is no stranger to a busy schedule. But the constantly alternating day and night shift work as an apprentice welder at a manufacturing plant in Fort McMurray, Alta., proved to be too much to handle in addition to caring for her children.

After her request to only work day shifts was denied by her employer, SMS Equipment, Cahill-Saunders filed a grievance, claiming she was discriminated against on the basis of family status. And the arbitrator agreed.

Operations at the plant, which manufactures equipment, parts and service to the construction, mining and petrochemical industries, run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As with most other employees, Cahill-Saunders worked a 14 days on and 14 days off schedule (with a rotating day and night shift schedule for each 14-day period), back when she was hired in 2010. In 2011, her schedule changed to seven days on, seven days off, again rotating day and night shifts.