An Ontario arbitrator recently reinstated a welder who threw a grinding disc towards a co-worker in a safety sensitive work environment.
The employer investigated the incident after employees who were almost hit by the disc reported it to their supervisor. The grievor was terminated when he came forward during the investigation and admitted to throwing the disc as a joke. At arbitration the union acknowledged that some form of discipline was warranted but argued that dismissal was excessive. The employer maintained the incident was a serious safety violation warranting dismissal in light of the grievor’s chequered disciplinary record.
The arbitrator found that the misconduct was serious. However, because the grievor had come forward to admit his misconduct, the arbitrator concluded that a meaningful prospect of rehabilitation remained. The grievor was reinstated without compensation for the period between the dismissal and the arbitration award as a deterrent to similar conduct in the future.
Robertson Building Systems Ltd. v. International Assn. of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 834  O.L.A.A. No. 226 (Roberts)