Labour Law

Grievance Alleging Breach of Harassment Policy Not Arbitrable Under Collective Agreement

In a recent decision, an arbitrator found that he was without jurisdiction to hear a grievance alleging acts of harassment and intimidation by a supervisor, which the union claimed were in violation of the employer’s harassment policy. The harassment policy was not included in the collective agreement.

The employer relied on the legal principle that an arbitrator derives his or her jurisdiction from the collective agreement. In order for an alleged breach of the harassment policy to be arbitrable, the employer argued, there must be an express reference to it in the collective agreement.

The arbitrator found that there was no mutual intention between the parties to create a policy that formed part of the collective agreement. As a result, he upheld the employer’s objection that he was without jurisdiction to hear the grievance. Harris & Company were counsel for the successful employer.

Brewers’ Distributor Ltd and Brewery, Winery & Distillery Workers Union, Local 300,March 8, 2004 (Moore).