SHP – 500
IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION
CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY
NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE, TRANSPORTATION AND GENERAL WORKERS UNION OF CANADA (CAW-CANADA), LOCAL 101
IN THE MATTER OF THE GRIEVANCE OF B. J. RABBY
SOLE ARBITRATOR: Vincent L. Ready
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
And on behalf of the Union:
A hearing in this matter was held at Vancouver, B.C., September 28, 1999.
This case concerns a grievance brought by the Union alleging that the discipline imposed on Engine Attendant Mr. B. Rabby, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, was excessive. Mr. Rabby was assessed ten demerit points on May 2, 1997 for what was termed an “unacceptable level of absenteeism from the workplace during the period November, 1996 to March, 1997.”
It is the position of the Employer that the grievance should be denied based on the fact that the discipline issued is reasonable and justifiable given all the circumstances of the case. The Employer relies on an employee’s contractual obligation to be available for work on a continuous basis, unless the facts can support that there are extenuating circumstances that warrant absence either on compassionate grounds or circumstances outside of the employee’s control, given there has been appropriate notification and authorization.
The Employer asserts that, on two occasions, the grievor stated he was absent from work to attend court proceedings in Regina. In neither case did Mr. Rabby seek permission to be absent or make prior arrangements with the Facility to excuse himself. The Employer argues that the grievor obviously knew well in advance that he would be required to attend court, yet failed to notify the Facility and request time off accordingly. The Employer maintains that this kind of irresponsible action cannot be ignored.
In short, it is the position of the Employer that the grievor broke his contractual obligation to be available for work on a regular basis and, where it was necessary, to communicate and make arrangements with the Employer to be absent. The Employer argues that, in these circumstances, the ten demerit points issued was reasonable discipline and, therefore, asks that the grievance be dismissed.
The Union, on the other hand, argues that Mr. Rabby’s absenteeism problems were directly related to his marital problems. This was compounded by having to deal with his very sick mother and, eventually, her untimely death. It is also asserted by the Union that the grievor’s personal problems have been overcome and he has maintained a successful absenteeism rate since, without problems giving rise to any further discipline.
Given the circumstances at the time the discipline was imposed, the Union submits that ten demerit points was excessive. Consequently, the Union asks that the demerit points be removed from the grievor’s record.
On the submissions before me I find that the grievor did give cause for discipline when he did not properly report his absences to the Employer. However, I do understand the grievor was going through some difficult personal circumstances at the time of this occurrence. I therefore find that the discipline imposed was excessive and would substitute a penalty of five demerit points.
It is so awarded.
DATED AT VANCOUVER in the Province of British Columbia this 29th day of October, 1999.
(signed) VINCENT L. READY