AH – 509







(the "Corporation")





(the "Brotherhood")





Sole Arbitrator:                    Michel G. Picher


Appearing For The Brotherhood:

J. Shields                – Counsel, Ottawa

J. R. Tofflemire       – General Chairman, Oakville

G. Hallé                   – Vice-President & Canadian Director, Ottawa

J. Presseault           – Grievor


Appearing For The Corporation:

E. J. Houlihan         – Senior Manager, Labour Relations, Montreal

Jene Selessic         – Manager, Customer Service

Melanie Bastien     – Labour Relations Officer, Montreal

Richard Guérin       – Manager, Customer Service



A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on Friday, January 12, 2001.



This arbitration concerns the grievor’s claim that he was wrongfully removed from the locomotive engineer training program by virtue of failing the interview examination. It is common ground that the grievor was given the interview on November 23, 2000. He successfully passed four of the five sections of the interview. However, on the first section, concerning decision making skills and working with minimal supervision, he recorded a failing score of forty-two. The minimal passing score for that section of the interview was fifty-nine.

Upon a review of the interview documents the Arbitrator has some difficulty seeing how the grievor can claim to have been dealt with unfairly, with one minor exception which is not material to the ultimate outcome. It does appear that, as with other candidates, he was not advised that in some questions the time taken to respond would of itself have a point value. On that basis, the loss of five points for his response to question three, a question concerning a hypothetical emergency brake application on an unexpected turnout, should be adjusted. However, I can see basis to adjust any other part of the grievor’s responses to the five questions of the first section of the interview.

While Mr. Presseault maintains that he should have been provided rules’ training before undertaking the exam, there was no obligation upon the Corporation in that regard. More disappointingly, it appears that notwithstanding his professed belief as to the importance of this matter to his own advancement, the grievor did not undertake to review any operating rules on his own prior to the interview. His partial explanation, to the effect that his rules book had been removed from his locker by persons unknown, and it was therefore impossible for him to prepare, is less than compelling. By his own admission, it would have been possible for him to obtain a copy of the rules and refresh himself on them, if he had been so inclined. More fundamentally, the Arbitrator ultimately accepts the submission of the Corporation that the questions in the first section of the interview were not intended to test a candidate’s knowledge of the rules, but rather his or her ability to make appropriate decisions in the field.

A review of the grievor’s answers does indicate that he was seriously indecisive in one question, and gravely wrong in his response to others. In the Arbitrator’s view this is not a circumstance where the grievor’s failing mark on the first section can be attributed to any inherent unfairness in the content of the test, or in the manner in which it was administered.  While I appreciate the quality of Mr. Presseault’s prior service to the Corporation as a conductor, I am compelled to uphold the result of the test.

The grievance must therefore be dismissed. The Arbitrator retains jurisdiction to dispose of a separate issue of interim compensation relating to Mr. Presseault, and the parties are directed to contact the Arbitrator to finalize that matter.

Dated at Toronto, January 17, 2001