Ontario employer reprimanded for workplace violence violations

Employer found not in compliance with Bill 168 amendments after supervisor assaulted and threatened workers
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 02/27/2013

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has found an Ontario employer liable for a supervisor’s assault and threats against two workers, but declined to award any monetary damages — other than lost pay — for violating Bill 168 provisions under the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting, a commercial and industrial concrete supplier and contractor in Thornhill, Ont., was providing services at a construction job site on Sept. 24, 2012. A supervisor at the site who was also a principal of Pro-Cut physically assaulted a labourer working for Pro-Cut at the site. On Nov. 5, 2012, the same supervisor threatened another labourer with physical violence and death.

The union representing the workers, the Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 506, filed a grievance and referred it to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, accusing Pro-Cut of violating Ontario’s workplace violence provisions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Pro-Cut didn’t file a response to the union’s grievance, but the board found there was enough evidence to conclude the assault on one labourer and threats to the other took place. It also found Pro-Cut had failed to develop and maintain a program to implement workplace policies with respect to workplace harassment and violence, and had not provided any information or instruction for its workers on any such policy. These were violations of the Bill 168 amendments to the health and safety act.

The board ordered Pro-Cut to cease and desist from violating the act and any related collective agreement provisions and pay compensation for any lost pay to the two labourers. However, the board declined to grant the union’s request for $50,000 in punitive damages and $100,000 to each of the labourers for mental distress and injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect. The union’s request for orders prohibiting the supervisor from entering Pro-Cut’s job sites and demanding a formal apology from him were also denied by the board, which stated it didn’t have enough information to make such awards. However, the board scheduled another hearing to assess damages for the violation of the collective agreement.

For more information see:

Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 506 v Pro-Cut Concrete Cutting Ltd. (Jan. 11, 2013), Gail Misra — Adj. (Ont. L.R.B.).

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