Dismissal warranted for slaughterhouse fight (Legal View)

No need for progressive discipline if misconduct serious, employee doesn’t show remorse, says arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/18/2012

An arbitrator has upheld the dismissal of an Alberta worker who started a physical altercation while working on a production line at a meat-packing plant.

Aly Trawere, 26, worked at the gutting table at XL Foods’ Lakeside Packers plant in Brooks, Alta. He worked alongside several other employees removing the intestines and internal organs from beef carcasses before the meat was inspected by a government inspector.

The work involved the use of sharp knives and a moving platform, so XL had a strict policy against fighting in the workplace due to the potential danger. Though the company used a progressive discipline approach — including written warnings — violations of the fighting policy could result in “discipline with the possibility of termination.”