Termination Excessive for 23-Year Employee

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

Fired for leaving work without proper authorization, a train conductor with 23 years’ experience was reinstated when the Arbitrator ruled that mitigating factors and a “culture of laxity” for brief absences from the workplace rendered the penalty of summary termination excessive.

With a verbal okay from the yard foreman, C.O. left the railyard at 9:00 am to assist his father with a car repair. He returned 35 minutes later. C.O. had made an informal arrangement with the yard foreman that he would make up for the time spent on the errand by working through his breaks. However, C.O.’s absence from the rail yard was discovered by the trainmaster who was seeking confirmation for an updated switching list. Unable to raise C.O. on the radio, the trainmaster investigated at the rail yard and was present when C.O. returned from his errand.