Angry worker’s firing overturned, but he doesn’t get his job back

City worker acted aggressively in front of customer and didn’t apologize; also made veiled threat after being dismissed
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/12/2018

Workplace violence and customer service are both priorities for public-facing employers, especially those in the public service. Naturally, when a city employee acts aggressively in front of a member of the public — putting the customer as well as co-workers ill at ease — there may be reason to take action, especially if the employee doesn’t have a perfect record. The City of Calgary may have overreacted to one employee’s poor behavior while on the job, but the employee made things worse for himself following his dismissal.

A Calgary city worker shouldn’t have been fired for his aggressive behaviour at a homeowner’s residence, but his actions following his dismissal made reinstatement unworkable, an Alberta arbitrator has ruled.

Andre Desantis was hired by the City of Calgary in May 2001 to be a municipal maintenance worker and flushing truck worker for the city’s water services department. His role as a flushing truck worker involved being out in the field assessing and resolving drainage problems in the private homes of city residents as well as large buildings. Like all flushing truck workers, he and a partner were given daily assignments by a foreman and drove around in a city-owned vehicle.