A journeyman electrician employed by Hydro One Inc. was properly
dismissed because, during an altercation, he pushed another
employee causing him to lose his footing and fall down metal stairs
outside a trailer, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has held.
The OLRB decided that the employee's push of his coworker
was unplanned and "strictly a reaction to a scenario
instigated by" the coworker. Both employees were
"strong-willed individuals who enjoyed their combative
relationship and have managed to control it" until the date of
It was critical here, according to the OLRB, that the employee
had not apologized to his coworker. The lack of an apology
"prompts consideration of whether there has been any
therapeutic reflection upon the unacceptability of violence, even
violence . . . that was precipitated by the perception of a need to
ward off unexpected raised arm(s)."
The OLRB expressed concern that the lack of an apology and of
any evidence showing that the two employees were likely to
reconcile, meant that reinstatement would impose upon the employer
"an unacceptable burden of ensuring that these two are kept
apart until such time as there can be assurance of no further
hostilities." That was beyond what the employer could be
"burdened with since the employee and his coworker were unable
to "control their personal interactions".
The termination was thus upheld. However, the OLRB struck down
Hydro One's prohibition in perpetuity of the employee doing any
work at Hydro, because if he returned to Hydro One as an employee
or contractor, the employee would likely not be in the same working
relationship with his coworker-nemesis.
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