Focus On

DISCIPLINE AND DISCHARGE - Available sanctions - Dismissal - Grounds - Dishonesty

Friday, September 11, 2020 @ 5:53 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the union from the dismissal of its judicial review application of the dismissal of its grievance of a termination. The grievor was employed as a correctional officer by the respondent for 12 years. In 2015, the grievor recorded and sent to her co-workers security footage of a correctional officer being assaulted by an inmate. The video footage was eventually leaked to the media, although not by the grievor. During two interviews by the respondent’s investigators, the grievor denied any involvement in the matter. The respondent concluded the grievor was deceitful and terminated her employment. Two months following the termination, the grievor confessed. Three other correctional officers were disciplined but not terminated for their involvement. The board upheld the termination decision, finding the employment relationship was irreparably damaged. The judicial review judge found the board’s decision was reasonable.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The board’s reasons demonstrated it considered the differences in involvement by the officers who participated in the incident and explained why the conduct of the other officers was distinguishable from that of the grievor and why a different sanction was reasonable. The board was entitled to decide the grievor’s dismissal was justified notwithstanding the different penalties given to the other officers. The board gave due consideration to the extent to which the grievor’s personal circumstances mitigated the decision to terminate her employment. The reviewing judge correctly concluded the board’s decision was reasonable. The reviewing judge did not err in finding the board reasonably concluded the grievor’s late acknowledgement of wrongdoing was insufficient to overcome the loss of trust. The reviewing judge did not focus on the outcome to the exclusion of the reasoning process of the board.

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees v. Alberta, [2020] A.J. No. 815, Alberta Court of Appeal, F.F. Slatter, P.A. Rowbotham and D. Pentelechuk JJ.A., July 31, 2020. Digest No. TLD-September72020010