An employer has been unsuccessful in its bid to keep a
newly-created "capital safety planner" position out of a
union bargaining unit.
The capital safety planner was to be involved from the outset in
every project that the employer undertook. He or she would
impose requirements for health and safety on projects.
The arbitrator decided that the capital safety planner would not
be performing functions of a manager or a superintendent, nor would
he or she be employed in a confidential capacity in matters
relating to labour relations or in a confidential planning or
advisory position in the development of management policy.
Instead, the capital safety planner would implement policy that
had already been developed by reviewing the work on each project,
identifying the risks, and then determining the steps and resources
necessary to address them. Further, project safety was not a
confidential matter that required the person to be excluded from
the bargaining unit.
Lastly, the arbitrator noted that the union bargaining unit
included other "professional and technical employees including
a variety of planning positions", so it would not appear
inappropriate to include the capital safety planner in the
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
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