GRIEVANCE ARBITRATION EXERCISE 30% OF THE OVERALL GRADE FOR THE COURSE
This task is designed to help you reach learning outcome #1, #3, and #4 of the course.
CASE SCENARIO FIGHTING/PHYSICAL ALTERCATION/TERMINATION WITH CAUSE
EVA DUMBROVSKI CASE
Anne Gagnon has been with Wilson Bros, Toronto Plant for ten years, five as a unionized employee and
five as a supervisor, all in the warehouse and distribution centre. She is viewed as a rising star in the
organization and is being considered for promotion to a general management position. Her department
always meets or exceeds its shipping and receiving quotas and in her spare time she shadows
supervisors in other departments to learn their jobs. After completing her undergraduate degree in
business, she completed a Master’s degree part time in Leadership while working for Wilson Bros.
Her department is responsible for receiving all raw materials for the manufacture of food products for
the Toronto Plant as well as preparing and loading trucks for the distribution of finished products to the
customers. It is a lot of responsibility and Anne loves her job. It wasn’t always easy though, especially at
beginning of her time as supervisor as she had difficulty giving direction to employees who were
formally her friends.
Senior management had recognized Anne’s issues and indeed had determined that it was necessary to
provide training to all supervisors at Wilson’s, Toronto Plant to help them perform their jobs better.
Most recently, the company held a three day seminar entitled ‘How to Discipline Employees Effectively’
and Anne took that information extremely seriously. In addition to the basic training materials there
seemed to be an under‐current throughout the seminar that indicated that supervision and
management in Toronto were not holding employees accountable for their actions and as a result
discipline, if issued at all, was often inconsistent and poorly managed. Anne felt that she needed to
change that perception at the first opportunity possible. That opportunity was to come very soon!
AUGUST 15TH ROCK GARDEN BAR AND GRILL
Located a short walking distance from the Toronto Plant, the Rock Garden Bar and Grill did a brisk
business during lunch hour as well as after hours. The Rock Garden Bar and Grill served regular fare and
was licenced to serve beer and alcohol. Most of the profit was earned on the latter. According to
owner/manager, Robert Dole, over 80% of his volume came from Wilson employees, both hourly and
management. He knew very well how important the Wilson business was to him and he reinforced with
his staff that if they saw or heard anything at all untoward that they were to forget it immediately. They
certainly didn’t want to get into any kind of controversy with management, the union or the employees.
Business depended on it.
As per usual, on August 15th, Anne Gagnon was having lunch at the Rock Garden Bar and Grill. She was
with another supervisor, Linda Graham and they were discussing the issues of the day. Apparently there
were two empty bottles of beer on their table but no one saw them consume the beer. Anne was
discussing her need to have some employees work overtime that evening as a result of yet another
major order that had come through from a customer that had to be filled immediately.
Coincidentally, about 5 tables over from Anne and Linda, two of Anne’s subordinates were also having
lunch‐Karen deMarcos and Eva Dumbrovski. Karen was a long time Wilson employee with 20 years’
service, age 55 with a clear disciplinary record. She was viewed as an excellent Lift Truck Operator in the
distribution centre. Eva, on the other hand, was 30 years old, had numerous letters and suspensions on
her record including absenteeism/lateness, poor performance and failure to report, failure to notify, the
latter administered very recently. She had been a problem employee from day one and probably should
have been let go during her probationary period but somehow slipped through the cracks. She was
currently a Lift Truck Operator in the warehouse. Both Karen and Eva also had two empty beer bottles
on their table but no one saw them actually drinking them.
Anne approached Karen and Eva’s table, leaned over and in a purposely light tone said ‘sorry ladies,
overtime again tonight.’ Karen and Eva looked down and didn’t respond. Anne continued. ‘Overtime
tonight, we have another big order’. At which point, Eva said, ‘Go away Gagnon, and we aren’t working
your ‘friggin’ overtime. Get somebody else; we worked OT already this week.’ Anne was furious, and
responded. ‘I need it and you will do it.’ And then she went back and sat down with Linda. Linda told
Anne to calm down and deal with it back at the plant. Anne agreed and took a deep breath. They paid
their bill; Linda went to the washroom and Anne went out the front door of the restaurant to wait for
Linda in the parking lot.
Unfortunately for Anne, Karen and Eva came out to the parking lot and the argument continued. Both
Karen and Eva reinforced that they had no intention whatsoever of working overtime that evening and
to reinforce their position, Eva, and then subsequently Karen, shoved Anne backward. Anne wasn’t
about to take that so she pushed both Karen and Eva in return; Karen and Eva then attempted to slap
Anne across the face and missed fortunately although she did have to dodge the blows and fell to the
ground as a result. Linda came out, saw the commotion, and yelled at everyone to stop. Fortunately
they did. When she collected herself, Anne informed both Karen and Eva that they were terminated on
the spot for fighting and not to bother returning to work for the remainder of their shift that afternoon.
A passersby on the sidewalk loved the show and Linda overheard them say ‘wow, great, a fight by
Wilson Bros employees. Super. Hope they don’t get those uniforms too dirty!!’
Grievances were submitted with respect to both Karen and Eva’s termination. Karen’s grievance was
settled at the 3rd step of the grievance procedure. The company and union agreed that Karen would
serve a 30 day suspension without pay for the infraction. Eva’s grievance was not settled and proceeded
to arbitration. At that same 3rd step meeting the union demanded that Anne Gagnon also be terminated
as a result of her role in the incident.
Case Scenario Written By Charles Purchase, Seneca College
COMPANY ARBITRATION TEAM‐EVA DUMBROVSKI
Your job is to present the Company position regarding the termination of Eva to a three person
Arbitration Board made up of a Company Representation, a Union Representation, and a Chairperson.
The Board’s decision can be either a unanimous or majority decision and they can either:‐
1. Uphold the discharge
2. Remove the discharge (and provide full retroactive pay)
3. Alter the discipline to something other than discharge (such as a suspension)
So, obviously, as the Company Arbitration Team you will want to present arguments that support
upholding the discharge.
You will want to answer the following questions:‐
1‐How does language in the current collective agreement support our position?
2‐How do other cases we have researched support our position?
3‐How do Anne’s actions support our position?
4‐How do Linda’s actions support our position?
5‐How do the employees’ actions support our position?
6‐What are the weaknesses in our position that we can counter?
7‐What are the criteria an arbitrator uses to make decisions on these cases and have we addressed
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