Anti-union animus and penalties associated with Labour Relations Act violations
The Ontario Labour Relations Board published its decision in the matter between the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario and a southwestern Ontario construction company in December, 2017. This decision dealt with a claim of anti-union animus which was based on the termination of four employees, who, according to the Carpenters, were terminated because of their involvement with the drive to unionize the company.
The Board determined that the employer violated the Labour Relations Act by attempting to compel employees to avoid joining the union, interfering with the formation of the union, and refusing to employ workers because of their affiliation with the union.
As a result, four employees were offered reinstatement or compensation in the event that they did not want to be reinstated. Further, the Board determined that instead of ordering a certification vote, it would automatically certify the union, and determined which employees would be included in the bargaining unit.
Despite the challenges introduced by potential unionization, this decision reinforces the importance of complying with labour legislation, and the potential outcomes and penalties associated with non-compliance. It is, therefore, important to seek appropriate guidance in the event of potential unionization. This will not only help businesses avoid potential penalties, but will also help to maintain positive labour relations.