Arbitrator rules grievor has no blanket right to claim anonymity
Monday, August 10, 2015 - Filed in: Arbitration Cases
In October 2013, an arbitrator rejected a union argument that publication of individuals' names in an arbitral award was possible only with their consent. In Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. v. United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 1518, 2013 CanLII 70673, the arbitrator held that disclosure was favoured as a general rule and that no justification had been provided to depart from that general rule on the facts before him. The grievor's offence was a disciplinary one and he had provided no specific circumstances to distinguish himself from any other person in a similar situation. The arbitrator held that a blanket approach to the issue of party anonymity was an inappropriate framework for balancing the interests of privacy with the open court principle in the context of labour arbitration proceedings.
In May 2014, the Labour Relations Board affirmed the arbitration decision in Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd v United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1518, 2014 CanLII 27506. The Board found that the arbitrator's decision was consistent both with the requirements of the BC Personal Information Protection Act and with sound labour relations policy. It agreed that the discretionary, case-by-case approach, rather than the blanket approach advocated by the union, should be taken to the question in the labour arbitration context.
Note: This a reprint of an article by Michael Torrance of Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.