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February 28, 2011

Recent Arbitral Decisions on Termination for Cause

By Heather Hettiarachchi.

Employers with unionized workforces know that it is always difficult to have a termination for just cause upheld in a unionized setting. This is because arbitrators take the position that a union job, because of the seniority and recall rights that are normally associated with the job, is very valuable. Thus, any decision by employers to fire an employee because of the employee's bad behaviour is normally grieved, and arbitrators frequently overturn the discharge in favour of another form of discipline.

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Discussion and Debate on Use of Information from Social Networking Sites Continues

It seems that each week, there is a new article regarding the use or protection of information obtained or disclosed on Facebook or other social media sites. Recent surveys indicate that the majority of people who post information on social media sites, have an expectation of privacy that is inconsistent with the real (or lack thereof) privacy settings in place for their posted information. Also, many employees do not appreciate that what they do on their own time, can affect their employment status, yet recent court and arbitral decisions continue to uphold terminations or other discipline arising from comments or information posted on line. Further, BC’s Privacy Commissioner has indicated she may issue a discussion paper on the use by employers of such information, particularly for pre-employment screening.

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