SaskTel workers brew up trouble in company truck

Clean records save workers’ jobs after being initially fired for drinking, driving in company vehicle
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/30/2011

Two Saskatchewan telephone employees who were found to have consumed alcohol before getting in an accident with a company truck — as well as having open beer in the vehicle —deserve serious discipline but not termination of employment, a Saskatchewan Arbitration Board arbitrator has ruled.

Justin Nokonechny and Ron Salter were field technicians for Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) in Regina, installing and maintaining telephone lines in southeastern Saskatchewan. Neither had been subject to any discipline during their service with SaskTel — 12-and-one-half years for Nokonechny and 11-and-one-half years for Salter — and both received very good performance reviews.

On Dec. 11, 2009, Nokonechny and Salter were assigned to work on the installation of a new system that would increase the telephone capacity in the area of Grenfell Beach, Sask. As was normal procedure on such a job, the plan was for the two men to visit the worksite to evaluate what was required to do the job. The actual work would follow the next day.