Truck driver doesn’t get the message on cellphone use while driving

Employee downplayed misconduct that breached company policy and the law
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/01/2015

An Alberta employer had just cause to dismiss an employee who was caught holding and using his cellphone while driving, an arbitrator has ruled.

The employee was a truck driver for BFI Canada, a national commercial and residential waste management company in Edmonton. The employee was hired by BFI’s predecessor in March 2001 as a labourer and became a truck driver five years later. In 2010, the company merged with BFI and the employee’s employment continued uninterrupted. He had no accidents or infractions on his record until 2013, when he was disciplined four times for different types of misconduct, including a verbal warning for damaging a trailer while loading, a written warning for damaging a structure while backing up a loader, a one-day suspension for failing to carry out a pre-trip inspection of his truck, and a three-day suspension for insubordination. Three-day suspensions were commonly the final step in BFI’s progressive discipline policy.