Home Featured Arbitrator reduces suspension for two hotel workers following altercation at Fairmont Royal York

Arbitrator reduces suspension for two hotel workers following altercation at Fairmont Royal York

by HR Law Canada

Two long-serving banquet servers at a luxury Toronto hotel have had their five-day workplace suspensions reduced following an altercation on June 3, 2022.

The incident, which took place at the Fairmont Royal York’s main mezzanine kitchen, involved two workers — AD and JP — both employees of the hotel for over 20 years.

Initially, the employer, after conducting an investigation that included reviewing CCTV footage, had imposed a five-day suspension on both workers, citing violations of several workplace policies. The Union representing the workers filed grievances against these suspensions, arguing that the disciplinary action was excessive.

The arbitration focused on the brief altercation, which did not involve physical contact, damage to property, or disruption to hotel guests. It was noted that AD, frustrated by JP’s actions that obstructed his work, aggressively moved JP’s cart, leading to a heated exchange between the two. JP then sought assistance from a colleague and reported the incident to management.

While the arbitrator found both parties culpable, the primary aggressor was identified as AD. The arbitrator acknowledged the importance of maintaining respect and dignity in the workplace, as emphasized by the hotel’s policies and the collective agreement.

However, considering the long service of the employees, the brief nature of the altercation, and the absence of prior disciplinary records, the arbitrator deemed the five-day suspensions excessive.

Consequently, the arbitrator ordered a reduction in the suspensions — a three-day suspension for AD and a one-day suspension for JP.

The decision underscored the need for proportional disciplinary measures and recognized the mitigating factors, including the employees’ long service and the non-violent nature of the incident.

The hotel was directed to compensate the workers for their losses due to the initial suspensions.

For more information, see Unite Here Local 75 v Fairmont Royal York, 2023 CanLII 104323 (ON LA)

You may also like

About Us

HR Law Canada is dedicated to covering labour and employment news for lawyers, HR professionals and employers. Published by North Wall Media.