Canada: City loses appeal against reinstating 2 employees fired for sexual activity in fire chief's office - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada City loses appeal against reinstating 2 employees fired for sexual activity in fire chief's office

17:55  08 october  2019
17:55  08 october  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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The interim fire chief of Vernon, B.C., installed a surveillance camera in his office in a bid to catch employees snooping through his filing cabinet. The city fired captain Brent Bond and dispatcher Cara-Leigh Manahan in March 2018 after "a brief episode of consensual activity " in the fire chief ' s

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The City of Vernon has lost its appeal to dismiss two fire-rescue staff who were caught on camera engaging in sexual activity on the job — but says it isn't done fighting yet.

The city originally fired Capt. Brent Bond and dispatcher Cara-Leigh Manahan in March 2018 after "a brief episode of consensual activity" in the fire chief's office.

The pair filed grievances through the union and ultimately won their jobs back.

Unhappy with the decision by the arbitration panel, the city appealed to the Labour Relations Board (LRB).

"Having sex in an open manner, with a subordinate, while on duty in the fire hall, must be grounds for termination," the city wrote in a statement Monday.

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"We cannot tolerate a workplace environment where this type of activity is carried on by a commanding officer."

The application for the city's appeal was denied at the end of September. The city responded publicly to the decision this week, saying they are still  "troubled" by the job reinstatement and looking into other options to further fight the decision.

a large red fire truck parked in front of a building: A B.C. arbitration board ordered the City of Vernon to reinstate two employees who were fired after they were caught on camera engaging in a sexual act in the fire chief's office.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation A B.C. arbitration board ordered the City of Vernon to reinstate two employees who were fired after they were caught on camera engaging in a sexual act in the fire chief's office.

Hidden camera

The LRB reviews and can overturn an arbitration decision if one side was denied a fair hearing or if it goes against the labour code — neither of which, the board concluded, was an issue in this case.

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"The board does not interfere with such decisions merely because it believes it might have reached a different conclusion," the board wrote.

"Whether or not I agree with this conclusion is not the issue."

Fire Chief David Lind had installed a hidden camera in his office to catch employees he suspected were going through filing cabinet drawers — but Bond and Manahan were caught instead. Both were fired the next day.

The arbitration board later ruled that while their sexual misconduct was worthy of harsh discipline, they should not have been fired.

Bond rejoined the force with no loss of seniority of benefits and no compensation for lost wages. He was given a disciplinary suspension of five months on his employment record and a demotion to the rank of first-class firefighter for a period of time.

Manahan, who was also permitted to go back to her job without loss of seniority or service, had already changed employers at the time of the decision.

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