©b60r AD HOC 127










SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill




A hearing in this matter was held at Toronto on October 31, 1984.


©u50rR. E. McCaughan, J. E. Platt and A. G. Cunningham, for the union.

©u35rF. R. Shreenan and R. A. Colquhoun, for the company.



©b69r AWARD


The joint Statement of Fact and issue in this matter is as follows:


1. Signal Helper was dismissed from Company service on May

23, 1984, for operating a Company vehicle while under the

influence of alcohol at Edmonton, Alberta, May 1, 1984.



1. The Union contends that Mr. Hudyma's dismissal for

operating a Company vehicle while under the influence of

alcohol was excessive and unwarranted.

2. The Company contends that the discipline assessed Mr.

Hudyma was just and warranted.


There is no substantial dispute as to facts. The grievor was hired

by the company in September, 1980, as a Signal Helper. In 1981, he

became a Signal Maintainer's Helper, and was working in that

classification at the material time.

The grievor worked as Helper for a Mr. Black, a Signal Maintainer.

The two men worked together on a defined section of the Alberta North

Division, being a total distance of 129 track miles with respect to

which their duties included the inspection, adjustment and

maintenance of interlockings, automatic block and highway crossing

signals. For the most part, access to their work sites was by

company truck, for which Mr. Black was responsible.


The grievor's regular work hours were from 0800 to 1630, Monday to

Friday, with thirty minutes for lunch. On all regular work days and

on alternate weekends, however, the grievor was "subject to call",

pursuant to article 7 of the collective agreement. At all times

material to the instant case, the grievor was so subject to call.


On Tuesday, May 1, 1984, the grievor and Signal Maintainer Black,

having finished their work at 1630 hours, then drove in the company

truck to a hotel expecting, perhaps, to have a couple of beers. It

should be said that there was nothing improper in this crew's using

the company vehicle to drive to their homes. They would require the

vehicle for any duties to which they might be called.

The grievor (and the same would appear to be true for Mr. Black),

consumed, according to his own statement, some six or seven bottles

of beer between the time he arrived at the hotel and about 18:30,

when they left. Given the quantity consumed (whether of regular or

of light beer) in the time involved, and even without any evidence of

clinical symptoms of intoxication, there can be no doubt that,

however he may have felt at the time, the grievor's facilities were

impaired to a certain degree at the time he left the hotel.

It was agreed between the two men that the grievor would drive Mr.

Black to his home and then proceed on with the company truck to his

own home, which was further away. The grievor would then pick up Mr.

Black in the morning on their way to work. There was nothing

improper about this arrangement, considered by itself. It was,

however, improper for the grievor then to have proceeded to drive the

company vehicle, given the amount he had had to drink and the time in

which he had drunk it.

The grievor drove Mr. Black to his home (some fourteen miles from the

hotel), and then proceeded on toward his own home (a further eight

miles). On the way, the grievor was involved in an accident, in

which he struck the rear of another vehicle, which had stopped at a

traffic light. As a result of that incident and its surrounding

circumstances, the grievor was charged with impaired driving and with

assaulting a police officer. The events which led to these charges,

it may be repeated, took place while the grievor was subject to call

and while he was operating a company vehicle.

The grievor, it may be noted, was convicted and fined on both

charges. Those convictions, however, occurred after the grievor had

been discharged, and were not themselves the grounds of any

disciplinary action. It may also be noted, however, that the

breathalyser test taken of the grievor at the time of the accident

revealed a blood alcohol level well beyond that at which impairment

is considered to occur.

The grievor, clearly, was in violation of Rule "G" which prohibits

the use of alcohol while on duty or subject to duty. He was in

violation of this rule while he was in fact operating a company

vehicle on the public highway. In those circumstances, he was

involved in an accident and engaged in conduct which led to criminal

charges. This was further misconduct of concern to the Company,

whose vehicle was involved.

There can, I think, be no doubt that these were circumstances in

which there was just cause for the imposition of discipline on the

grievor. Having regard to the nature of the grievor's duties, and

considering the view which has generally been taken by arbitrators

in cases of employees who are involved in accidents when operating

company vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, I do not

consider that the discharge of the grievor was a penalty which went

beyond the range of reasonable disciplinary responses to the

situation. In my view, there was just cause for the penalty imposed.

For all of the foregoing reasons, the grievance is dismissed.




DATED AT TORONTO, this 5th day of November, 1984.




J.F.W. Weatherill,