An electrician's comment, "Don't worry about me, I
carry weapons" and "it would really feel good to kill
something today" constituted workplace violence but did not
warrant dismissal, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has
The employee had a strained relationship with an Electrical
Foreman. When a female co-worker noticed her in
distress about the presence of the foreman, she offered to
accompany the employee to the washroom. The employee then made the
"weapons" comment, afterwards saying that she was
referring to the tools that she carries such as an
electrician's knife and spud wrench, but that she would never
harm anyone except to defend herself. Later in the day, in a
meeting with her supervisor and union representatives, she
complained again about the foreman and said that she "had a
An investigator concluded that the employee had made
"violent comments" and was emotionally unstable.
The OLRB decided that the employee's comments "could
reasonably be interpreted to constitute a threat to exercise
injurious or potentially injurious physical force."
However, there was nothing premeditated about the threats and there
was no previous pattern of threatening conduct on her part. She was
"guilty of having engaged in violent threats, but in comparing
them with the kinds of behaviour in the cases cited to me by both
parties, her comments were at the lower end of the
The OLRB did not believe that the employee was likely to repeat
"such extreme conduct" or that she was a threat to the
safety and well-being of other employees. The dismissal was,
Canadian Union of Skilled Workers v Hydro One Inc, 2014
CanLII 44660 (ON LRB)
Dentons is a global firm driven to provide you with the
competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected
marketplace. We were formed by the March 2013 combination of
international law firm Salans LLP, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner
Casgrain LLP (FMC) and international law firm SNR Denton.
Dentons is built on the solid foundations of three highly
regarded law firms. Each built its outstanding reputation and
valued clientele by responding to the local, regional and national
needs of a broad spectrum of clients of all sizes –
individuals; entrepreneurs; small businesses and start-ups; local,
regional and national governments and government agencies; and
mid-sized and larger private and public corporations, including
international and global entities.
Now clients benefit from more than 2,500 lawyers and
professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries across Africa, Asia
Pacific, Canada, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and
the CIS, the UK and the US who are committed to challenging the
status quo to offer creative, actionable business and legal
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).