Unapproved moment of silence on production line not just cause

Employee held up production line after request for moment of silence for tragedy victims was denied
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/18/2013

An Ontario company did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who took a moment of silence to recognize a tragedy, an arbitrator has ruled.

James Fletcher was employed as a cutter in a Guelph, Ont., meat production facility operated by Cargill, a producer and marketer of food and agricultural products and services.

On Dec. 15, 2012, Fletcher arrived at the plant before his shift and asked the operations manager to hold a moment of silence to honour the victims of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the day before. The manager said that the company would not observe a moment of silence because, it wasn’t possible to honour the victims of all tragedies with a separate moment of silence for each. The moment of silence on Remembrance Day served to honour all victims and fallen, said the manager. Fletcher was angered at this response but said nothing at the time.