CANADIAN RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
CASE NO. 1556
Heard at Montreal, Tuesday, September 9, 1986
VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
CANADIAN BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY, TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS
Discipline assessed for conduct unbecoming a VIA employee, and not complying to porters' standard of service on Train 2/10, August 4, 1985.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Following passengers' complaints, Mr. S. Khan's record was assessed 10 demerit marks.
The grievor has denied all the allegations against him and has submitted six letters of commendation from other passengers to support his claim.
The Brotherhood has appealed the discipline and contends that the Corporation is harassing Mr. Khan, while he was simply doing his job.
The Corporation has denied the Brotherhood's claim.
FOR THE BROTHERHOOD: FOR THE CORPORATION:
(SGD.) TOM McGRATH (SGD.) A. GAGNE
National Vice-President Director Labour Relations
There appeared on behalf of the Corporation:
C. O. White – Officer, Labour Relations, Montreal
M. St-Jules – Manager, Labour Relations, Montreal
C.A.B. Henery – Human Resources Officer, Toronto
J. Kish – Officer, Personnel & Labour Relations, Montreal
And on behalf of the Brotherhood:
T. N. Stol – Regional Vice-President, Toronto
J. J. Huggins – Local Chairperson, Toronto
S. Khan – Grievor
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
In the Arbitrator's view there is nothing in the evidence to sustain the suggestion of the grievor, who is of East Asian origin, that the assessment of ten demerit marks against him for complaints respecting his service on train 2/10 on August 4, 1985, were the result of harassment or racial discrimination aimed at him. After a careful review of the material filed, as well as the grievor's own evidence, the Arbitrator cannot conclude on the balance of probabilities, that the complaints made against the grievor by two separate passengers were entirely without foundation. I must conclude that on the occasion in question the grievor showed an insufficient degree of consideration to the two female passengers, by the tone of his voice, the manner in which he opened the curtains of one passenger's berth and bumping the second passenger while taking down a mattress, without apology.
The Arbitrator rejects the grievor's evidence that the female passengers, who were both travelling with their young children, complained about the grievor only because on the evening prior he had refused their alleged request to let a gentleman with whom they had been drinking sleep in one of their berths. In light of the grievor's demeanour as a witness and the implausibility of the events as he relates them, I am not prepared to conclude that two passengers, both with small children who were not travelling together, deliberately conspired to lodge false complaints against Mr. Khan as he alleges. While the complaints filed were minor, they were, in the Arbitrator's view, justified, as was the imposition of ten demerit marks in the circumstances.
For these reasons the grievance is dismissed.
(signed) MICHEL G. PICHER