Tag Archives: victory

2017: Alternation and age discrimination case

Photo of BSO with the word Victories superimposed

This is the sixth vignette in a series celebrating our union victories.

In a matter of blatant age discrimination by the employer, Diane Legros, who worked for CBSA, sought to alternate with another employee to benefit from a Transition Support Measure. Alternation occurs in a Workforce Adjustment Situation when an employee switches with a person in an ‘opting’ position who wishes to remain in the public service, ‘alternating’ into this job and leaving the public service with a financial payout.

Legros’ request was refused: She was 62 and her manager expected Legros would likely retire soon, at which time her postion could be eliminated. With the support of the union, Sister Legros challenged the manager‘s position, and grieved – twice. The manager persisted, and Legros’ case eventually went to adjudication. It was found that her age was indeed a factor in the employer’s decision to deny her alternation – a clear-cut example of discrimination.

Ultimately, the employer faced consequences for violating the Canadian Human Rights Act: The adjudicator awarded Legros with $10,000 in damages for “willful and reckless discrimination”, as well as $15,000 for “significant pain and suffering”. The ‘Legros Decision’ thus helped reinforce the protections that benefit all our members, illustrating once more that labour rights are fought for and not given.

Image of a woman looking out the window with text explaining a union victory in a matter of age discrimination

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For more union victories, see this page, and follow us on social media using #CIUvictories.

Celebrating our victories

Photo of BSO with the word Victories superimposed

For more than half a century, CIU and its members have been on the front-line of union advocacy. In our Victories section, we celebrate the hard-won and hard-fought labour battles that gave our members – be they law-enforcement or civilian – the many rights and protections they enjoy today, from stronger representation to a safer work environment.

In the coming months, we invite you to discover how our union helped shape and transform Canada’s first line of defence: Every month, we’ll be releasing a short vignette on our website and on social media (#CIUvictories) showcasing a victory or an event of importance in the history of our organization.

Already published:

Victory: PSAC Secures Over a Million Dollars Owed to Border Services Members

CIU Flag / Drapeau du SDI

PSAC-CIU has successfully challenged, through a policy grievance, a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) breach of the Border Services (FB) collective agreement that expired June 20, 2014.

PSAC had negotiated a new annual allowance for all employees performing Border Services duties. The amount was set at $1,250 annually for non-uniformed officers and $1,750 annually for uniformed officers, to be paid monthly to all BSOs who worked a minimum of 75 hours in that calendar month. The Employer however refused to compensate members who worked the 75 hours in the month of June 2013.

Following PSAC-CIU’s legal challenge, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) recently issued a decision affirming that the Employer needed to pay all members in accordance with the provisions of this new allowance for the month of June 2013. This decision makes it consistent with the sick leave and annual leave provisions. This victory will see over 1 million dollars given back to the Border Services members affected and sets a precedent for any future allowances negotiated with similar language.

A version of this article was posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC Victory Secures Compensation for Victims of Workplace Sexual Assault

CIU Flag / Drapeau du SDI

PSAC secured an important victory this past week when the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that a member should be compensated for the sexual harassment and assault she experienced in her workplace.

The case involved a border services officer who had been continually sexually harassed by a co-worker since May 2008, which culminated in a sexual assault on August 2009. While the employer and the Board did not dispute that sexual harassment and assault did occur, the Board nevertheless decided that compensation for pain and suffering was not warranted despite clear evidence of significant emotional trauma

In its decision, the Board referred to the sexual assault as a “vulgar prank” and considered the reaction of the target of the assault as “extreme” and “grossly exaggerated.” The Board further maintained that because the victim was a “confident” employee she ought to have taken different steps in having the matter reported and resolved.

Thanks to the courage of the member who brought this case forward, PSAC successfully appealed the Board’s decision and received the positive ruling last week. The Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that there is an obligation to compensate victims of sexual harassment and violence, and further, that sexual assault survivors can be compensated for harm suffered regardless of whether the sexual assault was the sole cause of the harm.

“This is such an important victory for any victims of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. The message is clear: the impact on workers should be taken seriously, and they should be compensated for their suffering,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward.

The Court was also very critical of the Board’s original decision for having perpetuated rape myths. The Court affirmed that there is no one typical response by victims to sexual assault, and further that the Board could not substitute its own concept of common sense in place of the actual evidence of pain and suffering.

A version of this article was posted on the PSAC website.

Victory! PSAC Member Awarded Damages in Age Discrimination Case

Victory!

In a recent adjudication decision, Diane Legros, a PSAC member who worked for Canada Border Services Agency, was awarded $25,000 in damages because her employer discriminated against her based on her age. The Federal Public Service Labour and Employment Relations Board (FPSLREB) decision awarded these significant damages because the employer refused to allow Legros to take advantage of a retirement incentive due to her age, and that the discrimination was “willful and reckless.”

“We are pleased to see that the adjudicator awarded significant damages for a violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President. “It’s important that in cases like this, where managers so blatantly and recklessly discriminate against an employee, that there be a consequence for that. Hopefully, lessons will be learned from this case.”

Denial of alternation based on age

The adjudicator found that the grievor’s age was a factor in the employer’s decision to deny her alternation, which was discrimination. Alternation is available under the Workforce Adjustment Directive during reorganization or downsizing in the public service. It occurs when one employee switches or “alternates” with another employee who has been declared surplus and will lose their job. The employee can alternate into the surplus job and retire with a financial payout known as the “transition support measure”.

Legros wanted to alternate with a surplus employee and take the transition support measure and retire. But her manager refused to allow her to do so because of her age. She was 62 and the manager expected she would likely retire soon and her position could be eliminated at that time.

The adjudicator said that “due to the grievor’s age, [the manager] was relying on the grievor retiring to meet the DRAP’s objectives. For that reason, she denied her a benefit (leaving as an alternate) that others could claim.” This denial of the benefit was age discrimination.

Damages for pain and suffering, “willful and reckless” discrimination

According to the decision, the manager “did everything in her power to prevent [the alternation] from taking place.”

The manager’s refusal continued despite an adjudication decision in another case where the Board had ruled that alternation could not be denied based on the employer’s future plan to eliminate the alternate’s position once he or she retired.

The adjudicator awarded $10,000 in damages for “willful and reckless discrimination” under section 53(3) of the Act, because the manager continued the refusal for a long time, even after the other adjudication decision.

Stating that Legros suffered “significant pain and suffering”, the adjudicator also awarded $15,000 in damages under section 53(2)(e) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

A version of this article was first published on the PSAC website.