SHP 168



Canadian National Railway Company

(the "Company")



(the "Union")


SOLE ARBITRATOR: J. F. W. Weatherill



There appeared on behalf of the Union:

J.W. Asprey

W. Slater

J. Brady



And on behalf of the Company:

J. A. Cameron and others



A hearing in this matter was held at Montreal on May 10, 1984.




The Dispute and Joint Statement of Issue in this matter are as follows:


Dismissal of Pipefitter L.D. Eagleton, Symington Diesel Shop, Winnipeg for accumulation of demerit marks.


Pipefitter L.D. Eagleton, assigned to the 2400 to 0800 shift, Symington Diesel Shop (Winnipeg), Left the Company premises without authority at 0400 hours September 2, 1983. After an investigation, Pipefitter Eagleton was assessed 20 demerit marks for early departure from work on September 2, 1983 without authority.

As a result of the assessment of 20 demerits to Pipefitter Eagleton, he was discharged from the Companyís service due to accumulation of demerits.

The Union appealed the assessment of discipline (20 demerits) on September 8 as too severe.

The Company declined the appeal.

It is acknowledged that the grievor did leave work early on the day in question, and that he did not have permission to do so. The issue is whether, or not, in the circumstances, discipline was justified and if so, whether or not the assessment of 20 demerits was appropriate.

The grievor states that shortly before he left work, he was pulling a fitting tight with a pipe wrench, when the wrench slipped, hitting him in the chest, causing him to lose his breath and to have great difficulty in breathing. He then went to the foremanís desk and called the foreman, twice. When the foreman did not respond, the grievor says that he wrote a note saying "Frank, Iíve had an accident cannot breathe gone home", and left it on the foremanís desk. The grievor then went to the locker room and, changed, and then left, punching out at 0420.

There is reason to doubt the grievorís story. It is clear from the evidence that at about, or shortly before, the time referred to, the foreman had paged the grievor, but got no reply. He went to the location at which the grievor had been assigned to work, and found that he had completed his work. The foreman looked for the grievor in various locations, until he found that he had punched out at 0420. Apart from this, there is the statement of a fellow employee who met the grievor when he was going to the locker room, and who was going there as well. The grievor made no complaint to him of having injured himself, although at the very start of the shift he had said that his chest was sore. The note which the grievor says he wrote was never found, although the other employee did see the grievor writing something at the foremanís desk.

Had the grievor in fact injured himself at work it was obviously his duty to report it at once, if he was able to do so. It is clear from what is set out above that this was not an emergency situation of such a nature as to prevent the grievorís reporting it. Subsequently, the grievor was given medication for a lung infection, but there is no evidence of any physical injury having occurred at the shop. It is also noteworthy that the grievor sought and was paid Workmenís Compensation, apparently in respect of such alleged injury, covering a period for which he was also paid by the company. The grievor did not advise the company of any injury until the time of this investigation.

In the circumstances, I find that the grievor was not justified in leaving work without permission, and that he was properly subject to discipline on that account.

The grievor has been assessed 20 demerits for the same offense in the past. His record at the material time stood at 50 demerits, and he had been counselled as to the seriousness of the matter and the precariousness of his position. In my view, the assessment of 20 demerits was not excessive in the circumstances. There was, I find, just cause for the action taken by the company and for the discharge of the grievor for having accumulated 60 or more demerits.

For the foregoing reasons, the grievance is dismissed.

DATED AT TORONTO, this 18th day of May, 1984.

(signed) J. F. W. Weatherill