The reinstatement of terminated employees is a complex issue. Since there are few clear guidelines on the issue, employers are not always sure of the best route to take. Each case has its own particular set of circumstances and it’s hard to predict which way a tribunal or court will rule. The following sites provide resources for employers interested in seeing how others have dealt with the issue of reinstatement.
ONE UNION’S REINSTATEMENT DATABANK
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU) site is full of union-related employment law information, from legal updates to bargaining issues. There’s a large section on grievances, which is accessed by hitting the “Grievances” tab at the top of the main page. This takes you to summaries of “particularly interesting or important grievance awards involving OPSEU.” Each summary sets out the main facts of the case and the key aspects of the arbitrator’s decision and gives a direct link to the text of the award. Also on that page is a searchable grievance awards database in PDF format. Click on that link and enter the word “reinstatement,” which leads to dozens of OPSEU arbitration decisions.
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour site provides a wide variety of information about its labour relations activities and focuses on settling workplace disputes under various employment-related statutes. It also helps to settle collective agreements and produce information on collective bargaining. Key in the word “reinstatement” in the Quick Search function at the top of the Labour Relations page. This leads to a list of decisions, most of which are cases involving employees allegedly terminated for their involvement with pay equity activities.
INTERIM REINSTATEMENT TREND FEARED
This October 2005 article, written by Toronto labour and employment lawyer Ben Ratelband at law firm McCarthy Tétrault, takes a look at the Ontario Labour Relations Board’s (OLRB) interim reinstatement powers. In the recent Martin decision, the OLRB ordered the interim reinstatement of an employee who claimed that his dismissal was a reprisal for seeking to enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Ratelband says that the Martin decision, in combination with the proposed Bill 144 amendments to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, “is likely to have a significant impact on employers and their ability to remove problematic employees from their workplaces. These developments will also certainly affect employers’ decision-making when considering whether or not to discipline or dismiss such an employee. The likelihood of interim reinstatement must now be considered.” In reinstating the employee in this case, the OLRB stated that its decision could lead to a “flood” of interim reinstatement applications.
BAD PR LEADS TO REINSTATEMENT
The federal Public Service Labour Relations Board offers the ability to search decisions, including many relating to the reinstatement of employees. On the left menu bar, click on the “Decisions” link, which then offers several choices, including Recent Decisions, Search Decisions and Decisions by Year.
THE ROAD TO REINSTATEMENT
This CBC article, “Fired bus union boss wins reinstatement,” describes how the local president of the union that represents Metrobus drivers in St. John’s, Nfld., was given his former job back after being fired 14 months previously. The page provides links back to previous articles that have followed the story from the beginning.
Ann Macaulay is a freelance editor and regular contributor to Canadian HR Reporter. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.