Grievance arbitration vs. civil actions

Unionized workplaces not immune
By Peter Biro
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Background

Just because there is a union, a collective agreement and a grievance arbitration process at a workplace, it doesn’t necessarily mean the employer is immune from civil actions from its employees. While the dispute resolution process is generally thought to be entirely regulated by the collective agreement there are still circumstances in which civil courts retain jurisdiction to entertain an employee's claims against the employer.

In a recent decision dealing with this issue, the Ontario Court of Appeal held the motions judge erred by concluding the courts had no jurisdiction to hear and decide an action brought by employees against their employer.