Accommodating Employees and Seniority

Posted by Johannes Schenk on September 22nd, 2005 — Posted in Human Rights Law, Labour Law

Accommodation of employees can be difficult to implement without contravening collective agreement seniority provisions. Employers face difficult decisions when planning a course of action to assist an emloyee without offending the collective agreement terms.

In Canada Post Corp. v. Canadian Union of Postal Workers (Kalinowski Grievance), [2005] C.L.A.D. No. 289, a letter carrier had a physical disability and, by agreement of the union, was allowed a preferential route pick over and above what his senority level would ordinarily allow. Arbitrator Ponak held that the where the disabled employee had a choice of more than one route within his medical capabilities that employee should be limited to choosing the route that causes the least disruption to senority provisions in the collective agreement.

This case presents a simple set of facts applied to a complex area of law. It illustrates that care should always be taken to plan accommodations with a view to minimizing disruption to the contract that could make the employer liable for more than the accommodation. The principle also has application to unions who may attract liability for their part in arranging the accommodation.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment