Employer can’t use finger scan system to clock employees

An Ontario court has upheld an arbitrator’s decision that an employer can’t use a finger scan system to check employees in and out of the workplace.

IKO Industries Ltd. appealed the arbitrator’s ruling, alleging the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to hear the grievance and that the decision was patently unreasonable.

But the Ontario Superior Court of Justice pointed out that the employer conceded before the arbitrator that the employee’s right to privacy was recognized in the arbitral jurisprudence and made it clear to the arbitrator, “that the company does not contest my jurisdiction to determine whether such right is violated here as alleged by the union.”

The court said it would not be appropriate to challenge the arbitrator’s jurisdiction for the first time on an application for judicial review and, furthermore, it said the arbitrator’s decision was thorough and well reasoned.

“The employer essentially argued that the arbitrator ought to have balanced the employer’s and employees’ interests differently,” said the court. “She concluded that finger scan information did have an impact on an employee’s privacy interests and the employer concedes that this was not patently unreasonable. She ultimately concluded that while the invasion of privacy was not substantial, the employer’s interest in implementing the system did not outweigh the invasion of privacy given all of the circumstances of the workplace and alternative means available to the employer.”

For more information see:

IKO Industries Ltd. v. U.S.W.A., Local 8580, 2006 CarswellOnt 7541 (Ont. S.C.J.).

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