Arbitrator Rules on Leave of Absence Without Pay
Aug 15, 2006The government places employees on what they call a “leave of absence without pay” when they wish to remove someone from the workplace in order to investigate a complaint. If the investigation fails to result in any disciplinary action, the government will not compensate individuals for the time they were removed from the workplace.
The MGEU took a case to arbitration where three individuals were placed on leaves of absence without pay for two weeks while the government conducted an investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, one individual was given a one-day suspension, another was given a letter of warning, and the third was given a non-disciplinary letter of direction. However, the government refused to compensate the employees for the loss of pay while removed from the workplace.
The Union was successful in arguing that this action was akin to a disciplinary sanction, as the arbitrator ordered that each individual be compensated.
In a second arbitration, where a grievor had again been removed from the workplace on a leave of absence without pay, Arbitrator Jamieson commented as follows:
“Even if the precaution of removing the grievor from the workplace was justified, it surely should have been by way of a leave of absence with pay which is the industrial norm today in these situations.”
If you find yourself being placed on a unilateral leave of absence without pay by the government while they investigate a workplace situation, please contact the Union to file a grievance.