A snowplow driver’s bad driving record, not his workplace
violence complaint, was the reason for his dismissal, the Ontario
Labour Relations Board has decided.
Vehicle safety and safe road conduct were important to the
employee’s employer, a contractor. In January 2015, the
employee had a single vehicle accident while driving the snowplow,
which spun around, crossed the road and landed in the ditch on the
opposite side of the road. Three weeks later he had another single
vehicle accident; while he was driving the snowplow partially off
the asphalt, he drove into the ditch. The two accidents cost the
company more than $20,000.00.
After the second accident, the police and fire department
arrived. Shortly afterwards, three employees of the company
arrived. The employee and one of his coworkers had a verbal
altercation. The employee claimed that his coworker
“head-butted him in the face”. However, when the
employee was taken to the hospital he initially reported to
hospital admissions that he had hit his face on the door of the
truck. A few days later, the company dismissed him.
The employee claimed that he was dismissed in retaliation for
raising safety issues (the head-butt incident, which he said was
workplace violence). The OLRB dismissed the complaint, noting that
the employer had investigated the incidents and had decided, in
good faith, that the employee was at fault. After the first
incident, the employer gave him a “final warning”. The
OLRB was satisfied that the decision to dismiss him was based
solely on the “at fault” accidents.
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