Usually employees complain about their managers, not the other
In an interesting case, a group of managers, who complained that
their workplace had been poisoned by the employer's inaction in
the face of offensive blog postings by their employees, has been
denied a remedy.
The managers were Operational Managers at the Middlesex
Detention Centre. They complained about a blog associated with a
local of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Some of the
blog posts alleged managerial corruption or negligence, such as
having "screwed up" an attendance management program. The
blog posts used words such as "useless",
"pathetic", "vindictive", "morons"
and "misfits". Cartoons and comments referred to
"kangaroo courts" imposing discipline on the employees.
The blogs characterized the managers' "pay for
performance" as being bonuses for "screwing up".
The blog was initially not password-protected but at some point
password-protection was added.
The managers argued that the blog comments were
"harassment" and violated the employer's harassment
policy and that by not acting on those violations, the employer
breached the terms and conditions of the managers' employment
The Public Service Grievance Board held that senior management
– who managed the complaining managers – had not
violated the complaining managers' terms and conditions of
employment in the way that the blog issue was handled. In
particular, senior management did not violate the employers'
policies in the way they handled the issue. Senior management made
clear to all employees that the disrespectful portions of the blog
were not to be tolerated, and was instrumental in getting the blog
removed from the public domain. That senior management did not
pursue the matter further after password-protection was added to
the blog was an exercise in discretion that did not breach the
managers' employment contracts. As such, the complaints of the
managers were dismissed.
Although senior management's handling of the blog issue was
considered reasonable, had the facts been different – and the
offensive blog posts continued to be accessible to the public
– the Public Service Grievance Board may have granted a
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