Physical contact between employees forbidden

Company policy was very clear: any violators would be immediately terminated
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Joseph Rozmus was employed as a production supervisor for Maple Leaf Meats in Winnipeg. Prior to his dismissal in April 2000, Mr. Rozmus worked at Maple Leaf Meats (or its predecessor) for 26 years. During his employment his record was unblemished. However on April 3, 2000, Mr. Rozmus’ employment was terminated without notice. The reasons given for the termination related to two incidents involving physical contact with a female employee. Mr. Rozmus brought an action against Maple Leaf for wrongful dismissal.

At the plant where Mr. Rozmus worked there is a great deal of moving machinery and many of the employees carry knives for use during the course of their employment. To prevent injuries in this environment the management of Maple Leaf developed strict rules relating to physical contact between employees.

The first incident occurred in December 1999. A female employee who was temporarily assigned to Mr. Rozmus’ area made an error addressing certain cartons of meat. While attempting to discipline the employee Mr. Rozmus came up to the employee, took her by the arm and either poked, patted or slapped her on the shoulder while saying, “Gabie, Gabie, Gabie. How many times do I have to tell you…” Mr. Rozmus was upset and annoyed.