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Arbitrator upholds sick leave

An arbitrator upheld a grievance last month against the OPG employer for unreasonably cutting off a member’s sick leave benefits. OPG’s actions, arbitrator Kathleen O’Neil found, caused the member significant mental distress. Given the employer’s “reckless” behaviour, Arbitrator O’Neil took the rare step of ordering $5,000 in mental distress damages to the grievor.

In finding for the grievor and The Society on all matters before her, Arbitrator O’Neil also found that the conduct of OPG Wellness, the OPG Chief Physician and other representatives of OPG was reprehensible.

This decision is the last one in a series related to the same grievance that dates back to 2010. In 2011, The Society won an arbitration hearing that forced OPG to reinstate sick leave benefits to the member and reimburse her for benefits the employer previously refused to pay.

Society Staff Representative Andre Kolompar, who worked on this case, believes that this is “an important decision in protecting Society members against future mistreatment at the hands of management and a clear demonstration of the Society’s commitment to fight for its members.”