A BC arbitrator recently held that a grievor is not entitled to
have her name withheld from publication in an arbitration decision
involving her termination. In Husband Food Ventures Ltd.
(d.b.a. I.G.A. Store No. 11) and UFCW, Local 1518, the
Union argued that British Columbia's Personal Information
Protection Act prohibited the publication of the grievor's
name, or alternatively, that the arbitrator should exercise his
discretion and not publish the grievor's name.
Arbitrator John Sanderson wrote that whether grievor's name
should be redacted from the reasons is a matter within the
discretionary authority of the arbitrator to be decided on the
facts of the specific case. He noted that the usual practice and
custom of labour arbitrators in Canada for more than five decades
is to name the parties to the collective agreement and the grievor.
He found this custom makes good labour relations sense as
arbitrations are workplace events focussing on issues and persons
who are members of a particular workplace community, and he noted
that important lessons can be learned from arbitration decisions by
labour, management and employees.
The arbitrator found that the onus is on the grievor to justify
when anonymity is required, and that the Union did not identify
special circumstances that would justify such anonymity.
It is interesting to note that privacy concerns have evolved to
such a degree that the Union sought to challenge five decades of
practice in this manner.
Meanwhile, there is another decision pending on the same issue
raised by the same Union, but before another arbitrator. We will
watch for that decision with interest.
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.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
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