Employer's right to post employee pictures in the workplace:
Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de Brasserie Labatt
(CSN) et Brasserie Labatt du Canada, s.c.s. (grief collectif), 2015
The Union representing Labatt's employees of the Montreal
Plant never filed a grievance when the employer posted pictures of
its employees on boards in the Plant to highlight social events or
to identify the members of various committees such as the health
and safety committee. It also did not complain because pictures of
employees appeared on Labatt's intranet and neither did it
complain of the use of employee pictures to demonstrate best
practices at various workstations.
But when the employer, Labatt Breweries of Canada, decided to
implement its "Voyager Plant Optimisation" which included
"Key Performance Indicators" it faced serious opposition
from the Union. Why? Amongst other things, because of the use,
without prior express consent, of the employee pictures next to
their respective workstations.
Indeed, according to the plan devised and deployed worldwide by
AB InBev, Labatt's owner, each workstation represented an
individual KPI in itself and the use of the picture was intended to
create a feeling of "ownership" of each employee to his
or her KPI.
The Union filed a grievance alleging that its members feared
being identified as responsible for weak performance of their
workstation which could simply be the result of poor machinery.
Said grievance was not based on the collective agreement, since it
did not contain any provisions dealing with the matter, but rather
the grievance alleged a violation of the right to privacy
guaranteed by the Quebec Civil Code, the Quebec
Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec
Act respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the
Arbitrator Faucher analyzed the criteria of public circulation
and the criteria of consent both being key to a finding of a
violation of the right to privacy. She decided that the display of
an employee's picture at a workstation in a plant could not be
assimilated to public circulation, since access to the plant itself
was restricted to employees only and that these employees already
knew which employee worked at each workstation. As for the issue of
consent, the arbitrator concluded that the consent the employees
had given so their pictures could be used on their punch card
implicitly applied to the new production management policy.
The arbitrator concluded that no privacy right had been breached
and she dismissed the grievance.
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