Although a temporary employee had no termination protection
under the collective agreement, he did have the right to advance a
reprisal / retaliation claim under the Occupational Health and
Safety Act, a labour arbitrator has ruled.
Two months after starting, the employee filed a harassment /
bullying complaint. His employment was terminated three months
later for having made threats of violence.
The arbitrator held that temporary employees had no protection,
under the collective agreement, from termination of employment or
harassment. In fact, the union could not rely on any of the
provisions of the collective agreement to advance the
The arbitrator decided, however, that he had authority to decide
whether the employer had violated section 50 (retaliation for
raising safety issues) of the Occupational Health and Safety
Act. Although the arbitrator stated that, "Apart from
section 50, nothing in the OHSA makes employers answerable for
workplace harassment", here the arbitrator had authority to
determine whether the employee had been fired in retaliation for
him raising issues that qualified as safety issues under the OHSA.
The grievance could therefore continue but only on the
harassment-retaliation complaint under the OHSA.
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