Custodian tossed out after putting co-worker in headlock

Wrestling hold on co-worker could have caused serious injury: Board
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/01/2011

An Ontario employer had just cause to dismiss a long-term employee who assaulted and injured a co-worker, the Ontario Arbitration Board has ruled.

Tom Rubaj was custodian for St. Joseph’s Health Centre, a hospital in Toronto. He was employed at St. Joseph’s for 28 years.

On Dec. 9, 2008, Rubaj neared the garbage and recycling room as Jose Garcia, a dietary porter, walked by on the way to the compactor room. When Garcia came out of the compactor room, Rubaj came up behind him and put him in a headlock, challenging Garcia, who was much smaller, to try to break free. When Garcia couldn’t, Rubaj put more pressure to the back of Garcia’s neck. Garcia asked Rubaj to let him go, but Rubaj then put Garcia in a full Nelson hold, challenging him to free himself. After ignoring Garcia’s pleas to let him go, Rubaj eventually released him and dropped him to the ground, laughing as he did so.