IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
Canadian Pacific Limited
THE CANADIAN COUNCIL OF RAILWAY SHOPCRAFT EMPLOYEES AND ALLIED WORKERS
AND IN THE MATTER OF GRIEVANCE OF D. S. DHANOA
SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill
There appeared on behalf of the Union:
J. W. Asprey
E. W. Tandy
P. E. Perrault
And on behalf of the Company:
D. J. David
D. A. Lypka
J. D. Chapman
A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on May 10, 1984.
The Joint Statement of Fact and Issue in this matter is as follows:
JOINT STATEMENT OF FACT
On November 21, 1983, Carman D.S. Dhanoa, employed at Winnipeg Yard Car Department was dismissed for reporting for duty in an unfit condition and being insubordinate to a Company Supervisor on November 4, 1983.
JOINT STATEMENT OF ISSUE
It is the position of the Union that this member was unjustly dealt with and also that the punishment was too severe. We feel that he should be reinstated with all benefits and that he be compensated for all time lost.
The Company denies the claim.
From all of the material before me, it is clear that the grievor did in fact report for work in an unfit condition on the day in question. There can be little doubt that this was due at least in part to the grievorís consumption of alcohol prior to his reporting to work, the grievor himself admitting to drinking three or four ounces of brandy with hot water earlier in the afternoon before reporting to work. The grievor had also taken some medication, in the form of an antihistamine and some antacid pills, and it may be that these contributed to his being unfit.
The grievor was late for work, smelled of alcohol, was sick at his stomach and used obscene and offensive language to his supervisor. It is reasonable to conclude that he reported for work drunk. This was an offence for which discipline might properly be imposed. The real issue in this case is the severity of the penalty imposed.
The grievor entered service with the company in May, 1974. His record is clear of any substantial discipline. Reporting for work under the influence of alcohol is of course a very serious offence, as is that of insubordination. In the instant case, I consider that the insubordination was simply one symptom of the grievorís impaired behaviour, and does not reveal any significant undermining of managerial authority. It would not, I think, call for the imposition of discipline under a separate head in this case.
The nature of the grievorís work, and of the operations carried on in the Winnipeg One Spot car repair facility are such as to involve a considerable risk of harm if an employee attempts to carry on his work there while his faculties are impaired. Persons engaged in the operation of trains are subject to discharge for violation of Rule "G" of the Uniform Code of Operating Rules, and likewise persons who have operated tractor-trailers while impaired, or, within a terminal, a fork-lift truck while under the influence of alcohol have been held to be subject to discharge. In CROA Case No. 1028, the discharge of a fork-lift driver was upheld. In that case, the employee had previously been enrolled in the companyís alcoholism program, but had not undertaken the required obligation with respect to abstinence, and was considered to have failed. In CROA Case No. 426, the grievor was convicted of impaired driving with respect to his operation of a company vehicle.
In the instant case, while the grievor apparently thought he was ready to work, he was not in a fit condition to do so, and was sent home. Given his length of service and his relatively good record, it is my view that discharge was too severe a penalty in this particular case, although there was certainly just cause for the imposition of a substantial penalty.
Accordingly, it is my award that the discharge of the grievor be set aside, and a penalty of 30 demerits be substituted therefor. The grievor is to be reinstated in employment without loss of seniority or other benefits, save only that there shall be no compensation for loss of earnings for the six-month period following the grievorís discharge.
DATED AT TORONTO, this 14th day of May, 1984.
(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill