The B.C. Ferries vessel the Coastal Renaissance at Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)

The B.C. Ferries vessel the Coastal Renaissance at Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)

Ferry worker fired for bullying has Labour Relations Board complaint dismissed

Employee worked at Nanaimo’s Duke Point and Departure Bay terminals

A ferry worker who was fired for bullying and harassment and complained to the B.C. Labour Relations Board had his case dismissed last week.

The former B.C. Ferries employee, referred to as B.M. in the legal documents, complained that the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union violated the Labour Relations Code by failing to grieve his firing.

He was fired in November 2019, with the ferry corporation outlining in writing the reasons for termination including instances of “explosive behaviour, [his] continued disrespectful and intimidating conduct towards [his] co-workers and supervisors and [his] blatant disregard to company policy.”

According to the termination letter, B.C. Ferries said the worker made “threatening statements” about a co-worker, “misused CCTV security camera access” while sending co-workers “on a wild goose chase,” mocked a disabled co-worker and brought another co-worker to tears with an insult.

“Bullying and harassment in the workplace is a very serious matter and cannot occur under any circumstances,” noted B.M.’s termination letter.

A few days after his firing, he was in communication with his union and confirmed that he did not wish to proceed with a grievance regarding his termination, but wished to be reimbursed for a $750 counselling expense claim that he hadn’t filed. He was reimbursed about two months later, at which time he asked if he could change his mind about filing a grievance and was told it was too late.

In B.M.’s complaint to the labour relations board, he suggested that his e-mail correspondence with the union didn’t mean that he had formally agreed not to file a grievance. He took issue with a formal reprimand he received six months before he was fired, and also said being transferred from the Coastal Inspiration at Duke Point to the Coastal Renaissance at Departure Bay “was a setup to have false allegations brought forth to have me terminated.”

The B.C. Labour Relations Board panel, in its decision Oct. 27, found that the union expressly informed B.M. of the review process for grieving his firing. The panel found no evidence supporting B.M.’s claims that the union was motivated to avoid such a process.

“The union did not act with reckless and blatant disregard with respect to the discharge but rather, represented the complainant in a manner wholly consistent with the complainant’s express, informed instructions to negotiate and accept the resolution, and the union’s duty of fair representation,” the decision noted.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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