Meat worker cut for carving pictures

Worker fired after he carved images and words into cuts of meat
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

An employee at an Ontario meat processing plant who carved messages and symbols into pieces of meat was deserving of discipline but didn’t deserve to be fired, the Ontario Arbitration Board has ruled.

A Meat Processing Company (AMP) operates a mechanized facility that breaks down livestock into cuts of meat. On Valentine’s Day, 2011, a piece of meat was found with “I heart u” carved into it, and pieces of fat were inserted into the carving. The supervisor showed it to all employees working and told them it was unacceptable. Other employees testified that they expected doing such a thing would warrant discipline such as a warning or a suspension, though AMP had no specific policy covering such an incident.

During the last week of February, a co-worker of the employee received a cut of meat with a piece of fat placed on it shaped to say “I heart you.” She didn’t know who had done it, though another worker saw the employee pushing a piece of fat onto a piece of meat. The employee initially denied doing this as well as the Valentine’s Day carving, but eventually admitted to both.