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Queen's University
 

Excuse: Alleged Harasser is a Manager

Bottom Line

The "traditional right to manage" can not be used as a defense for harassing conduct.

Workplace Harassment

In Teamsters Canada, Local 419 v Tenaquip Ltd (, the complainant (a warehouse labourer) was subjected to bullying behaviour by his supervisor.

Failure to Respond

The labourer complained.  During the investigation, the company admitted to having hired the supervisor because he was a bully and therefore capable of handling problematic employees (like the labourer).   In its grievance, the union claimed that the company had breached its obligation to provide a safe and healthy place of employment. In its defense, the employer claimed the manager was simply exercising his tradition right to manager as he saw fit. 

Arbitrator's Ruling

The Arbitrator awarded a complete remedy.  A complete remedy, it ruled,  can include discipline on a member of management, if such a remedy is necessary in order to restore the environment.  The "traditional right to manage" can not be used as a defense for harassing conduct.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000