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Can unionized employee sue her employer in court?

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  • Can unionized employee sue her employer in court?

    I understand that unionized employee generally can't sue his/her employer for wrongful termination. But what if the collective agreement specifies that probationary employee terminated within one year probation period doesn't have the right to seek for grievance through union? In this case, does the employee still have the right to go through legal procedure and sue in court?
    The termination was without just cause, and it was retailation for reporting the human rights violation. No union representation was on site when the termination decision was made. And the employer took the advantage of my not having the knowledge of collective agreement. (during the orientation, my employer didn't provide me a copy of collective agreement, I was not aware of my rights under collective agreement) No job performance or deciplinary action warning of any kind was evern made known to me.

  • #2
    Check with your union. There may be an arbitration clause in the contract. Probationary or not, they can best guide you as to your options here. It isn't the fact that you are in a union that determines this but rather many unions have arbitration agreements in place that require you to exhaust that remedy before you can use the courts. This is different than the grievance procedure.

    What was the human rights violation and to whom did you report it?
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Can unionized employee sue her employer in court?

      I reported the human rights violation to HR consultant when we were in meeting to discuss the dispute that I had with my supervisor. The human rights violation was the constant invasion of my privacy by co-workers. I made this known to my manager and HR consultant at least on two occasions previously. But nothing had been done to stop the harassment. HR consultant asked me if I knew who did this, and I told her I had a reasonable guess who did this. Upon hearing this, HR consultant terminated me right on the spot. but later, they tried to cover up their mistake by the excuse of my job performance related issue or attitude issue, to which I have a strong defense.

      During this one year employment with this employer, a series of harassment incidents happened to me based on the rumors and slander. I attempted to solve this problem in open with my employer, but was denied any chance to find a positive solution. Every single time after I reported the harassment to management or HR, the attack became more severe. Then I figured out the harassment was from the manager.

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      • #4
        Harassment on what basis? What was said/ done? What was this invasion of privacy? In other words, what behaviors were you reporting and what was the reason you were targetted? It makes a world of difference.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Harassment was based on race and marrial status. I am a new immigrant and was the only one in the department. The invasion of privacy involved stalking in and outside of the company, email and cyberstalking as well. Break in my apartment and secretly search my drawer and handbag. I had no idea why they did this to me, but as a result, I suffered tremedous psychological injury due to this outrageous and irrational behavior. The co-workers constantly used negative, innueudo and degrading remarks to express the denial.

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          • #6
            Not sure how you cyberstalk or email stalk someone but that is another thread. If someone breaks into your apartment, you call the police, not HR. Same goes for stalking. How do you know they secretly searched your drawer and bag?

            What makes you think it was due to your race and marital status? What state are you in? Not every state protects marital status. If you don't know why they are doing this, why do you think it is because of your race or marital status?

            It does seem a bit far fetched unless you have proof. If you have proof, go to the police. I know I'd be pretty adamant in denying that I had broken into someone's home repeatedly. That doesn't necessarily make it harassment.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              I didn't stalk or cyberstalk anyone.

              I am here to seek advice, and I don't have to write 20 pages to explain the link that my complaint has a lot to do with my workplace. I can tell you I can write up to 100 pages to prove that my employer was behind this.

              Here I come back to your question again.

              How did I know that they invaded my persoanl space? They purposely left trace, made thing different than what I had before, which brought to my attention. I did report the break-ins to police, but nothing was lost, and police wouldn't do anything about it.

              What makes me think it was a racial/marital status discrimination? I had a human rights complaint with facts and incidents. My employer treated me differently during the year. I did document the happenings. I think I don't have to tell in such details. I only want to get professional and legal advice.


              Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
              Not sure how you cyberstalk or email stalk someone but that is another thread. If someone breaks into your apartment, you call the police, not HR. Same goes for stalking. How do you know they secretly searched your drawer and bag?

              What makes you think it was due to your race and marital status? What state are you in? Not every state protects marital status. If you don't know why they are doing this, why do you think it is because of your race or marital status?

              It does seem a bit far fetched unless you have proof. If you have proof, go to the police. I know I'd be pretty adamant in denying that I had broken into someone's home repeatedly. That doesn't necessarily make it harassment.

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              • #8
                If you want advice, I need the details. You don't have to give them but then the advice is not worth much. Not all complaints provide you with employment protection and without knowing why you think it is related to your race or marital status, whether you communicated that belief to your employer so they knew it was for those reasons you felt you were being harassed, and what state you live in, a magic 8 ball is as likely to give you an accurate answer as anyone here.
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                • #9
                  No one accused you of any form of stalking.

                  We can't give advice in a vacuum. You don't have to give any details you don't want to but the fewer details you provide, the less value any advice we can give will have.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                  • #10
                    Back to original question

                    I had problem to get on the Internet for a day, and then didn't get back to the forum.

                    I didn't want to discuss how to file complaint or if my complaint has valid point here. My original question was: "Do I still have the option to solve the labour dispute through court when my Union failed to represent me properly?" In other words, if I felt that my Union acted in bad faith in my grievance, and didn't support me, Can I seek resolution through court?

                    I didn't ask you what percentage of sucess rate that I would have, but do I still have the right bring the case to court?

                    Originally posted by cbg View Post
                    No one accused you of any form of stalking.

                    We can't give advice in a vacuum. You don't have to give any details you don't want to but the fewer details you provide, the less value any advice we can give will have.

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                    • #11
                      It depends. Typically you must exhaust your options through the union first. There is also often an arbitration clause which would preclude you from suing in court. Not having read your CBA, it is impossible to tell you whether you are subject to this or not.

                      If you believe your coworkers are comitting criminal acts against you, you can file charges against them as individuals. That is different than filing against your employer.
                      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        back to original question

                        Thanks. The collective agreement does have a clause that said:"A grievance concerning the dismissal or termination of employment of a probationary employee may be subject to the Grievance Procedure except that it shall not be a subject of arbitration at Level 3." Level 3 is Aribitration.
                        Well, my grievance did go to Level 3 Arbitration, but the arbitration process only lasted for 20 minutes and the chairman anounced the close of my case for the reason that I had no case. That was all. It was unbelievable. But this is it. I felt my union behaved in bad faith, and didn't represent me at all.

                        As to the coworkers misconduct, I reported to my manager, and HR. But they didn't do anything to stop this. Based on how my manager and HR react upon hearing my report, I think they know this. Thus, I believed it is an organized action, not an individual behavior. I mentioned in my earlier post that there was rumors and slander against me, that's why I wanted to make this open and find a positive solution, but my manager and HR denied my request. Suing for defamation (slander) is another reason why I wanted to bring this to court.

                        Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
                        It depends. Typically you must exhaust your options through the union first. There is also often an arbitration clause which would preclude you from suing in court. Not having read your CBA, it is impossible to tell you whether you are subject to this or not.

                        If you believe your coworkers are comitting criminal acts against you, you can file charges against them as individuals. That is different than filing against your employer.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Most rumors provide no cause of action. First those that spread the information would need to know it is false and you would have to suffer some sort of actual damages as a result. Most things that run through the rumor mill are not legally actionable. You would need to talk to a lawyer to be sure, but just be aware that not everything coworkers may say about you provides a remedy.

                          Second, if this case already went to arbitration and was closed, you are going to have a very hard time brining the suit in court. Court isn't available because you don't agree with the outcome of the hearing, it is only available when there is something fundamentally or legally improper about the hearing or decision. For example, if the ALJ made a decision that was contrary to established law and deemed it perfectly ok to discriminate on the basis of race, that could be challenged in court. It is very hard to bring a case because the ALJ did not find there to be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that someone was discriminated against because of their race.

                          Your union not properly representing you is a totally different matter and one that you really need to discuss with a lawyer.
                          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks very much for the information.

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