RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 3937
CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY
MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES DIVISION
Dismissal of Mr. Mike Pinsonneault.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
The Company contends that the discipline assessed to the grievor was warranted and justified under the circumstances and that the inappropriate behaviour demonstrated by the grievor has continued on multiple occasions post-discharge.
Company denies the Union’s contentions and declines the
(SGD.) WM. BREHL (SGD.) M. THOMPSON
PRESIDENT LABOUR RELATIONS OFFICER
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
M. Thompson –
Labour Relations Officer,
K. Hein –
Manager, Labour Relations,
A. Mielke – Manager, Track Maintenance
C. De Re – Supervisor, Track Renewal
M. Fitzpatrick – Constable, CP Police
M. Goldsmith –
Labour Relations Officer,
And on behalf of the
Wm. Brehl –
D. W. Brown –
S. Brighton – Local Chairman,
W. Phillips –
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
before the Arbitrator confirms that for a period of several months the grievor,
Extra Gang Foreman Mike Pinsonneault of
Following a disciplinary investigation the Company assessed forty demerits against the grievor, which resulted in his discharge.
If the facts
related above were the whole story, the Arbitrator would readily sustain the
grievor’s termination. However, there are other factors which must be carefully
weighed. The grievor is a forty-four year old father of four who has been
employed by the Company for twenty-five years. While his record is not without
disciplinary blemish, the bulk of the discipline which he received in the past
related largely to attendance problems, failing to obtain first aid and errors
in relation to track protection on two occasions. Significantly, there is
simply no indication over the grievor’s twenty-five years of employment of any
behavioural problems, insubordination or disrespect toward other employees or
What the record further discloses, however, is a substantial mitigating factor. It appears that in late 2008 and early 2009 Mr. Pinsonneault was subject to extremely stressful family problems stemming from medical and behavioural problems with two of his children. It is common ground that following his discharge he underwent therapy with a social worker of the John Howard Society, whose report confirms the stress which the grievor suffered and his improvement towards anger management.
On the whole, the Arbitrator is satisfied that the bizarre and uncharacteristic conduct engaged in by Mr. Pinsonneault, which is entirely out of keeping with his history of employment, stems from an isolated period of unusual stress. I am not satisfied that these events confirm the total failure of an ongoing viable employment relationship, given the grievor’s subsequent progress.
On the whole I am satisfied that this is an appropriate case for a reduction of penalty by reason of the mitigating factors presented, albeit the grievor’s return to work should be on conditions fashioned to protect the employer’s legitimate interests.
The grievance is therefore allowed, in part. The Arbitrator directs that the grievor be reinstated into his employment forthwith, without loss of seniority and without compensation for any wages or benefits lost. The grievor’s reinstatement shall be subject to the Company’s option to require that he continue to undergo anger management therapy for such reasonable period as the employer and the Union may agree is appropriate, and failing their agreement, is determined by the Arbitrator. Any failure by the grievor to accept or honour the conditions established may result in his termination.