SaskTel workers brew up trouble with truck (Legal view)

Workers drank before crashing company vehicle but didn’t deserve to be fired: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/06/2011

Two Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) employees who consumed alcohol before crashing a company truck — as well as having open beer in the vehicle — deserved serious discipline but termination was too harsh, an arbitrator has ruled.

Justin Nokonechny and Ron Salter were field technicians for SaskTel in Regina, installing and maintaining telephone lines in the southeastern part of the province. Neither had been subject to any discipline during their service with SaskTel — more than 12 years for Nokonechny and more than 11 for Salter — and they received very good performance reviews.

On Dec. 11, 2009, they were assigned to work on the installation of a new system that would increase the telephone capacity in the area of Grenfell Beach, Sask. Consistent with normal procedure, the two men were to visit the work site to evaluate what was required to do the job. The actual work would follow the next day.