Disciplining employees for similar misconduct

Dealing with two employees in a fight with no clear instigator
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

Question: If two employees get into a fight violating a workplace violence policy but there’s no clear instigator, does the employer have to mete out similar discipline to each offender? Can one be dismissed and not the other?

Answer: When deciding on the level of discipline that should be issued in response to workplace misconduct, there are a number of factors that must be considered. These factors include such things as the environment in which the misconduct occurred, the existence of any safety issues, the seriousness of the behaviour, and the individual circumstances of the employees involved.

If the conduct of a unionized employee violates a workplace policy, the employer must first consider whether the policy is enforceable, under the requirements established in Lumber & Sawmill Workers’ Union, Local 2537 v. KVP Co. Specifically, the policy must meet the following criteria: