Lowered just cause standard not for entire probationary period

Collective agreement stipulated employer had sole discretion to dismiss for specified part of probation period
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/06/2013

An Ontario worker was too far into his probationary period to be terminated without notice under a collective agreement, an arbitrator has ruled.

Jeff Hawkins was hired in April 2012 to refurbish diesel engines for Motor Coils MFG in Brockville, Ont. The company’s collective agreement stipulated new employees would have no seniority for a probationary period of 24 weeks. During the first 16 weeks, the company had sole discretion to dismiss the employee.

Over the next several weeks, Hawkins’ production fell off and he had difficulty meeting quotas. He said his shift had more difficult projects to work with. The foreman also found damage to a hood that left jagged pieces of metal that could injure someone, though no-one saw Hawkins cause the damage and it was on the side where another employee worked.