This is a discharge case from 2013 which includes the Employer, Chartwell Seniors Housing Reit Long Term Residences Verses Healthcare, Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 2220, UBCJA, the Union. The Griever is a mature, Personal Care Provider (PCP) with extensive experience, whose job includes all aspects of personal care of the residents. The Griever has been employed at Chartwell since 2003. It was agreed by both parties that the Griever is a “skilled and dedicated worker” yet was terminated November 5, 2012.
The letter of termination states the reason for discharge was unacceptable conduct, contrary to her responsibilities and Policies and Procedures for Employee Standards of Conduct. Two specific events from October 30, 2012 were referred to in the termination letter as well as the Griever’s record of discipline.
On October 30, 2012 the Griever arrived at work on time but arrived at the Nurses’ Station between 3:03-3:05pm. It was established that the expected arrival time to the Nurses’ Station was 2:50pm in order to receive Report from the previous shift. This protocol gives staff direct knowledge of what has occurred and eliminates second-hand information. The Griever did not arrive in time to receive a verbal report from the dayshift RPN. The supervising RPN spoke to the Griever about being late and reminder her they have had this discussion multiple times that week. The Griever responded by saying she wasn’t late because she arrived to work on time. She then proceeded to accuse the RPN of singling her out and asked if it was “a black thing”. The RPN reminded the Griever that she was also black and denied racial motivation for discussing her tardiness. The Griever was unable to get a verbal report and had to read the report which delayed her starting shift by approximately 10 minutes. The Griever considered it disrespectful that the RPN didn’t stay late to give her a verbal report.
The second issue on October 30, 2012 occurred at the end of the Griever’s shift when she began her paperwork. The RPN questioned the Griever about a sleeping resident who was still in her wheelchair in the TV room because she had been assigned to her. When the RPN asked if the Griever had provided care to her and if she was going to provided care, she replied “No” to both questions. When the RPN reminded her it had been several hours since she had provided care, the Griever replied, “Are you stupid”?
The parties went to Arbitration to determine if the Employer has met its onus of proof in terminating the Griever, based on their view that the behaviour warranted discipline and therefore amounts to a culminating incident that supports the decision to terminate the Grievor given her previous record.
The union defended the Griever’s communication style by saying she was “direct, blunt, and speaks her mind” because management has encouraged employees to “offer suggestions and voice concerns”. The union feels the Grievor’s comments can’t be used to discharge her because they are her honest beliefs.
The union addressed the alleged misconduct by stressing the Griever was only a few minutes late and the window to receive the Report has such a narrow window that is was only a minimal concern. The Union also stated the Grievor showed responsibility by reading the report to inform herself. The Union suggested that the Report should have been repeated to her. The second issue of misconduct of how the Grievor responded to the RPN criticizing her for being late, was due to her honest belief that she was being harassed because of her race and management should have investigated further.
The Union said the Grievor had a right to be insulted when questioned about the time span between the care provided to the resident in question. The Union said the Grievor’s responses were “rhetorical and sarcastic” but didn’t imply disrespect. The Grievor responded this way because she was tired and frustrated with the allegations of neglect. The Union’s last point was that the RPN and the Grievor had a misunderstanding and the RPN was “overly sensitive” about having her authority questioned.