DATE : 04/7/95
PARTIES : CN CCROU
The material before the arbitrator discloses that, on the 18th of October 1992, Ms. Hopkins sustained a back injury while manipulating a de-rail . She completed a tour of duty which ended early in the morning of the 19th. While she mentioned the problem to a Yard Master at the end of her shift, she did not complete the required FORM 3903. It is not disputed that later the same day she saw her physician and was diagnosed as having suffered a back injury in respect of which she was advised to remain off-duty. In fact, she eventually remained off -duty to the 25th of October. She first filled out the FORM 3903 on October 21, 1992.
The arbitrator appreciates the submissions of the Union that there is an element of judgement on the part of an employee who sustains a bump or bruise in the course of work and that it is not inappropriate, in some cases, to let some time pass before determining whether in fact a true injury has been sustained. But, in my view, when an employee is aware that an injury has been suffered, and that it is an injury which may cause an absence from work and/or a compensable claim, there can be no reason to delay advising the Company, in a formal way, and taking whatever steps are necessary to fill out FORM 3903.
In this case it can’t be denied that at least as of the afternoon of the 19th of October, Ms. Hopkins was aware that that was her condition and, yet, there seems to have been no compliance by her with the requirement to fill a 3903 until some time on the 21st of October, some two days later.
In my view, this case is slightly different from that of Mr. Annas. While I am not persuaded that 15 demerits, which is 25% of an employee’s job, is necessarily appropriate in this case, I am of the view that some demerits should be assessed for the grievor’s actions. Given that the grievor’s record stood free of any demerits, at the time, and that the evidence does not suggest that any sinister intention on her part, nor is there any suggestion that would indicate to the arbitrator that this was anything but a bona fide injury, I am satisfied that the assessment of five demerits would have served to advise Ms. Hopkins that she was in violation of an important rule. Therefore, her discipline record shall be amended accordingly.
DATED at Toronto this 4th day of July, 1995.
Michel G. Picher - Arbitrator