Legal briefs

Telus picketers hit private homes; Hotel owner fined, jailed for 30 days; Software violates employee privacy


Telus picketers hit private homes
EDMONTON — An Alberta court ruled striking union members have the right to picket at private residences. Between Aug. 23 and Sept. 8, picketers wore signs and walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the homes of 10 Telus employees, including those of managers and workers who crossed the picket line. In some cases they yelled profanities, honked horns, peered over fences into backyards and planted signs on front lawns. In a 2002 case involving striking Pepsi workers, the Supreme Court of Canada chose not to ban picketing at private homes. The Alberta court followed the high court’s reasoning, but did put some restrictions in place, including limiting the protests from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and banning any contact between the picketers and the children of employees.

Hotel owner fined, jailed for 30 days
FORT FRANCES, ONT. — The owner of the Rainy Lake Hotel in Fort Frances in northwest Ontario was jailed for 30 days after repeatedly ignoring orders by arbitrators. Ladislav Syrovy failed to pay benefit contributions and provide payroll deduction information and T4s to unionized workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers. Justice Patrick Smith, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, issued the arrest warrant and fined him $25,000. He said he wanted to send a clear message to employers that they can’t ignore arbitration decisions. “Otherwise, the entire foundation of labour relations will crumble,” he said.

Software violates employee privacy
LACOMBE, ALTA. — Installing software that logs every keystroke an employee makes on a computer is an obtrusive surveillance method that will rarely be justified, Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled. The Parkland Regional Library installed the software on an information technology worker’s computer without his knowledge because it was concerned about his productivity. But the commissioner said there were less intrusive ways to monitor the worker’s productivity.

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