Garbage collector canned for procedure violations, dishonesty

Misconduct included unsafe reversing of vehicle, damaging equipment and lying about it; just cause despite two decades of service for city of Hamilton, Ont.
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/12/2019
Garbage collector
credit: Zulashai/Shutterstock

A municipal garbage collector who violated standard operating procedures, tried to cover it up and then justify it was deserving of dismissal, according to an Ontario arbitrator.

The worker was employed with the City of Hamilton, Ont., operating a waste collection vehicle every Monday through Thursday with a different route in a different vehicle on Fridays. The Monday-to-Thursday vehicle was a “two-man rear packer” that involved another employee accompanying him on the route — one would drive and the other would collect garbage.

The worker and his partner worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., finishing up by dumping the garbage they collected at a transfer station. The city’s garbage collection department had an unwritten policy for vehicle operators to not go to the transfer station before 1 p.m., even if they finished their route earlier — the station didn’t open until 1 p.m. However, if operators were able to dump their load and return to the city yard before 3 p.m. — but not before 2 p.m. — they were permitted to leave.