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Digest of the Week | Accommodation

Digest of the Week | Accommodation

Employee discharged for violation of terms and conditions of employment unilaterally imposed to try and accommodate the employee’s alcoholism

Diageo Canada Inc. and Unifor, Local 2098 (Purdie), Re
127 C.L.A.S. 191
Ontario Arbitration


DISABILITY — Accommodation

Grievance challenged discharge of shunt truck driver for violation of terms and conditions of employment unilaterally imposed on grievor as part of accommodation process to address grievor’s alcoholism — Employer produced and bottled beer and spirits — With seniority dating from 2001, grievor had lengthy disciplinary record, often resulting from excessive absenteeism due, in whole or part, to alcoholism — Grievor was referred to residential recovery home on three separate occasions, off work and in receipt of short term disability benefits — Following final return to work, employer attempted to reach Last Chance Agreement, but when parties could not agree presented grievor with letter stating his absenteeism was at level that would support termination, and he was being granted final chance so long as he met certain standards of acceptable conduct, which included abstinence from drugs and alcohol — No grievance was filed — Due to concerns that grievor was drinking and his absenteeism was increasing, employer retained investigator who observed grievor drinking alcohol at lunch — Grievor initially denied drinking, but admitted behaviour at arbitration, stating he did not agree with abstinence condition, that beer was legal and he disputed being alcoholic — Further accommodation would be fruitless — There was no doubt grievor was accommodated to point of undue hardship — Grievance dismissed
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