GRIEVANCE ARBITRATION EXERCISE 30% OF THE OVERALL GRADE FOR THE COURSE This task is designed to help you reach learning outcome #1, #3, and #4 of the…


This task is designed to help you reach learning outcome #1, #3, and #4 of the course.



Anne Gagnon has been with Wilson Bros, Toronto Plant for ten years, five as a unionized employee and

five as a supervisor, all in the warehouse and distribution centre. She is viewed as a rising star in the

organization and is being considered for promotion to a general management position. Her department

always meets or exceeds its shipping and receiving quotas and in her spare time she shadows

supervisors in other departments to learn their jobs. After completing her undergraduate degree in

business, she completed a Master’s degree part time in Leadership while working for Wilson Bros.

Her department is responsible for receiving all raw materials for the manufacture of food products for

the Toronto Plant as well as preparing and loading trucks for the distribution of finished products to the

customers. It is a lot of responsibility and Anne loves her job. It wasn’t always easy though, especially at

beginning of her time as supervisor as she had difficulty giving direction to employees who were

formally her friends.

Senior management had recognized Anne’s issues and indeed had determined that it was necessary to

provide training to all supervisors at Wilson’s, Toronto Plant to help them perform their jobs better.

Most recently, the company held a three day seminar entitled ‘How to Discipline Employees Effectively’

and Anne took that information extremely seriously. In addition to the basic training materials there

seemed to be an under‐current throughout the seminar that indicated that supervision and

management in Toronto were not holding employees accountable for their actions and as a result

discipline, if issued at all, was often inconsistent and poorly managed. Anne felt that she needed to

change that perception at the first opportunity possible. That opportunity was to come very soon!


Located a short walking distance from the Toronto Plant, the Rock Garden Bar and Grill did a brisk

business during lunch hour as well as after hours. The Rock Garden Bar and Grill served regular fare and

was licenced to serve beer and alcohol. Most of the profit was earned on the latter. According to

owner/manager, Robert Dole, over 80% of his volume came from Wilson employees, both hourly and

management. He knew very well how important the Wilson business was to him and he reinforced with

his staff that if they saw or heard anything at all untoward that they were to forget it immediately. They

certainly didn’t want to get into any kind of controversy with management, the union or the employees.

Business depended on it.

As per usual, on August 15th, Anne Gagnon was having lunch at the Rock Garden Bar and Grill. She was

with another supervisor, Linda Graham and they were discussing the issues of the day. Apparently there

were two empty bottles of beer on their table but no one saw them consume the beer. Anne was

discussing her need to have some employees work overtime that evening as a result of yet another

major order that had come through from a customer that had to be filled immediately.

Coincidentally, about 5 tables over from Anne and Linda, two of Anne’s subordinates were also having

lunch‐Karen deMarcos and Eva Dumbrovski. Karen was a long time Wilson employee with 20 years’

service, age 55 with a clear disciplinary record. She was viewed as an excellent Lift Truck Operator in the

distribution centre. Eva, on the other hand, was 30 years old, had numerous letters and suspensions on

her record including absenteeism/lateness, poor performance and failure to report, failure to notify, the

latter administered very recently. She had been a problem employee from day one and probably should

have been let go during her probationary period but somehow slipped through the cracks. She was

currently a Lift Truck Operator in the warehouse. Both Karen and Eva also had two empty beer bottles

on their table but no one saw them actually drinking them.

Anne approached Karen and Eva’s table, leaned over and in a purposely light tone said ‘sorry ladies,

overtime again tonight.’ Karen and Eva looked down and didn’t respond. Anne continued. ‘Overtime

tonight, we have another big order’. At which point, Eva said, ‘Go away Gagnon, and we aren’t working

your ‘friggin’ overtime. Get somebody else; we worked OT already this week.’ Anne was furious, and

responded. ‘I need it and you will do it.’ And then she went back and sat down with Linda. Linda told

Anne to calm down and deal with it back at the plant. Anne agreed and took a deep breath. They paid

their bill; Linda went to the washroom and Anne went out the front door of the restaurant to wait for

Linda in the parking lot.

Unfortunately for Anne, Karen and Eva came out to the parking lot and the argument continued. Both

Karen and Eva reinforced that they had no intention whatsoever of working overtime that evening and

to reinforce their position, Eva, and then subsequently Karen, shoved Anne backward. Anne wasn’t

about to take that so she pushed both Karen and Eva in return; Karen and Eva then attempted to slap

Anne across the face and missed fortunately although she did have to dodge the blows and fell to the

ground as a result. Linda came out, saw the commotion, and yelled at everyone to stop. Fortunately

they did. When she collected herself, Anne informed both Karen and Eva that they were terminated on

the spot for fighting and not to bother returning to work for the remainder of their shift that afternoon.

A passersby on the sidewalk loved the show and Linda overheard them say ‘wow, great, a fight by

Wilson Bros employees. Super. Hope they don’t get those uniforms too dirty!!’

Grievances were submitted with respect to both Karen and Eva’s termination. Karen’s grievance was

settled at the 3rd step of the grievance procedure. The company and union agreed that Karen would

serve a 30 day suspension without pay for the infraction. Eva’s grievance was not settled and proceeded

to arbitration. At that same 3rd step meeting the union demanded that Anne Gagnon also be terminated

as a result of her role in the incident.

Case Scenario Written By Charles Purchase, Seneca College


Your job is to present the Company position regarding the termination of Eva to a three person

Arbitration Board made up of a Company Representation, a Union Representation, and a Chairperson.

The Board’s decision can be either a unanimous or majority decision and they can either:‐

1. Uphold the discharge

2. Remove the discharge (and provide full retroactive pay)

3. Alter the discipline to something other than discharge (such as a suspension)

So, obviously, as the Company Arbitration Team you will want to present arguments that support

upholding the discharge.

You will want to answer the following questions:‐

1‐How does language in the current collective agreement support our position?

2‐How do other cases we have researched support our position?

3‐How do Anne’s actions support our position?

4‐How do Linda’s actions support our position?

5‐How do the employees’ actions support our position?

6‐What are the weaknesses in our position that we can counter?

7‐What are the criteria an arbitrator uses to make decisions on these cases and have we addressed

them all?

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