No accommodation for ‘character flaws’: Board

Frequently absent worker wasn’t alcoholic, just irresponsible
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Western Report|Last Updated: 07/13/2010

An Alberta worker’s frequent, unjustified absences were the result of irresponsibility, not alcoholism, the Alberta Arbitration Board has ruled.

Kyle Norman, 26, was a process operator at Tack Coal in Hinton, Alta. His work schedule consisted of four days of 12-hour shifts followed by four days off and the shifts could be during the day or overnight.

On Nov. 4, 2008, about 17 months after he was hired, Norman was given a counselling report that indicated he had missed 186 hours of work for the year up to that date — compared to an average annual absenteeism rate of nine hours. The report required him to provide medical notes for absences and contact his foreman if he was going to miss a shift. It also said if his attendance didn’t improve, he could be subject to discipline “up to and including termination.”