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166-34-29740 (2001 PSSRB 82)
Scott v. Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Before: G. Gigučre
Appearances: P. Trottier, for the Grievor; R. Fader, for the Employer
Decision rendered: July 31, 2001
Termination (disciplinary) – Release of confidential information – Public criticism of employer – the grievor had a history of a contentious relationship with his supervisors and management – when his complaints of harassment and mistreatment were not dealt with by the employer to his satisfaction, the grievor gave an interview outlining his complaints, which was reported in the newspaper – he was also interviewed by a radio station on the same matters, as well as other matters critical of management – in addition, the grievor demonstrated in public wearing a placard which was critical of Revenue Canada and the Liberal government – his protest was covered by a television station and the grievor was quoted as criticizing the government's tax collection policy – the employer wrote to the grievor advising him that his employment was terminated for releasing confidential information to the public and for publicly criticizing his employer by making untruthful and dishonest allegations against the Agency – the adjudicator first considered whether the grievor's public criticism deserved disciplinary action by the employer – the adjudicator found that the grievor's conduct did not fall within any of the exceptions to the duty of loyalty owed by an employee to his employer – furthermore, even if it did, the grievor's allegations would have to be substantiated – these allegations were highly incompatible with the grievor's duties as a tax collector – in addition, some of the grievor's statements were misleading and therefore were not truthful and honest – the adjudicator also found that the grievor had disclosed confidential information regarding his complaints of harassment against other employees, contrary to the employer's harassment policy – the adjudicator considered the mitigating factors, such as the fact that the grievor was considered to be a valued employee and that his record of service showed his initiative and motivation – the adjudicator also considered that the grievor had been warned by the employer numerous times to follow the lines of authority, not to release confidential information and to respect the Agency's Guidelines on Public Criticism – the grievor had been given a written reprimand and a two-day suspension in the past – he had not pursued internal redress mechanisms that were available to him – in addition, the grievor's unsubstantiated and misleading allegations against his employer were so serious and done in such a highly visible manner that they impaired his ability and the perception of his ability to perform his duties – the adjudicator concluded that the bond of trust between the grievor and his employer had been broken and therefore reinstatement was not possible.
|Cases cited:||Fraser v. P.S.S.R.B.,  2 S.C.R. 455; Grahn and Canada (Treasury Board) (1987), 91 N.R. 394 (F.C.A.); Haydon v. Canada,  2 F.C. 82 (T.D.).|