SHP - 97
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
Canadian Pacific Limited
CANADIAN COUNCIL OF RAILWAY SHOPCRAFT EMPLOYEES AND ALLIED WORKERS
RE:GRIEVANCES OF Y. CORBEIL AND G. LALANCETTE
SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill
APPEARING FOR THE UNION:
APPEARING FOR THE COMPANY:
A hearing in this matter was held in Montreal on March 12, 1981.
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
The Joint Statement of Fact and Joint Statement of Issue in this matter are as follows:
JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT:
Electrician Helpers Y. Corbeil and G. Lalancette, Angus Shops, were assessed 10 demerit marks each for leaving work early without permission on June 13 1980.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
It is the position of the Union that Mr. Corbeil and Mr. Lalancette were unjustly treated when assessed 10 demerit marks in this instance.
It is the Company's position that the discipline assessed was not excessive in the circumstances.
The grievors regular working hours are from 0730 to 1530. On the day in question, they came, one after the other, to the supervisor's office just before 1400, seeking permission to leave early. They deny the supervisor's report that they had already washed and changed, and in the absence of proof on the point, the supervisor's report cannot be accepted. Each of the grievors required permission to leave work early, but neither of them offered any reason. They appear to have said that they wanted to leave early for "personal reasons", but they did not elaborate on what these might be. Later, at the investigation, the grievors did state the nature of their personal business on the day in question.
There would seem to be no reason why they could not have made such explanation to the supervisor on the day in question. Apart from this, there would appear to be no reasons why the grievors, if they were acting in good faith, could not have gone to the supervisor earlier in the day with their requests.
The supervisor advised each of the grievors that he had missed too much time, an that he would not give permission to leave early. Neither of the grievors sought to explain whatever urgency there might be to his case, or to indicate in any way that the circumstances were such as to lead the supervisor to allow him to leave early. The grievors simply left.
Article 15 of the collective agreement deals with the granting of leave of absence (for up to ninety days), where "the requirements of the service will permit". Permission to leave early on a particular day is not a "leave of absence" as that phrase is used in article 15, and I do not consider that that article applies here. In any event it was not violated by the company. The supervisor's action was not "arbitrary": he was faced with two employees each of whom had, in recent months a bad record in respect of lateness and leaving early. They came, without advance notice, seeking permission to leave early, and gave no reason which the supervisor could be expected to evaluate. In the supervisor's opinion there was work for the grievors to do. In these circumstance, he quite properly refused them permission to leave early. That the grievors then left anyhow was clearly insubordinate and subjected them to discipline.
Of course employees need not subject themselves to needless humiliation or embarrassment in order to obtain permission to leave work early. In this case, the grievors could have sought to speak privately to the supervisor, but did not do so. Even in private, assurance that a matter was "personal" would generally suffice. Here, however, the grievors had records of leaving early, and the supervisor not unreasonably expected some sort of substantial justification for their request. Otherwise, of course, there would be no need for a "request" at all, and employees could come and go in accordance with their "personal" feelings. Truly personal matters are certainly to be treated with respect, but it should be remembered that dignity and respect is the right not only of the employee, but also of the supervisor.
In my view, there was just cause for the imposition of discipline on the grievors in this case. Having regard to all of the circumstances, a penalty of ten demerits was not excessive. The grievances are therefore dismissed.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 17th day of March, 1981.
(signed) J.F.W. Weatherill