Worker who packs a punch sent packing

Employee and supervisor had differing versions of altercation between them
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The Ontario Arbitration Board has upheld the termination of a meat company worker who was fired for assaulting a supervisor, despite the worker’s denial of any wrongdoing.

Nelson Howard, 57, worked for Guelph, Ont.-based Better Beef Limited for 26 years, first on the production floor and then, after developing carpal tunnel syndrome in 2002, as a parts runner responsible for making deliveries within and outside the plant. In October 2005 he took over some of the dry goods receiver duties while that person went on disability leave.

There was animosity between Howard and Slavko Grbinicek, 64, the sundry and premises supervisor, due to a couple of earlier incidents. Howard once discovered a chemical barrel in the scrap area had a leak. Though it was Grbinicek’s responsibility as sundry and premises supervisor, Howard dealt with the problem. The company then put a gate on the area to address security concerns and gave Howard a key. Grbinicek, who had an arrangement to sell scrap metal from the area to purchase plants for the company’s landscaping, was not given a key and as a result his arrangement ended.