Court cases—Labour relations
Rahman vs YCC #506
YCC #469 & Labourers Union Local 183
Rahman vs YCC #506
Trachuk, Vice Chair
Mr. and Mrs. Rahman claimed that they were terminated from YCC # 506, a
condominium building at 40 Panorama Court because Ms. Rahman was on
maternity leave and because Mr. Rahman might have taken parental leave.
The condominium was built around 1979 and since that time, or for some
significant part of it, a company called Philmor Group Limited also
known as MMG Property Management (referred to as Philmor/MMG) owned
and/or managed sufficient units in the building to maintain majority
control of the board of directors of YCC 506.
The board of directors therefore also retained Philmor/MMG as the
property manager for the building.
In August 1997 Mr. and Mrs. Rahman were hired as a superintendent
couple to run the building. There was also an assistant superintendent
couple who were mainly responsible for cleaning the building.
In November, 1997 the resident owners of the building had sufficient
numbers versus the Philmor/MMG units to hold a special meeting of the
corporation and to vote for a new all resident-owner board of
directors. Washington Brooks, the president of new board described this
as a "coup".
The first business of the new Board was to give notice to Philmor/MMG
that YCC 506 would no longer be requiring its services. The contract
was to terminate at the end of December.
Ms. Rahman was expecting a baby in March. She was experiencing
significant stress as a result of the tensions at the building which
was having a negative effect on her health. On 17 December 1997 she
therefore requested to begin her maternity leave on 03 January 1998.
Her request was presented by the existing property manager to the board
of directors who consented. Ms. Rahman therefore commenced maternity
leave on 03 January 1998.
At the beginning of January the board of directors met with the manager
assigned by its new property management company.
The new property manager recommended that they layoff the four existing
superintendents and hire one individual with the skills required to
maintain the building. He also recommended that a contract cleaning
company would do a better job than the assistant superintendent couple.
The new management company stated that they had encountered these
situations many times before and suggested that the board could not be
certain of the loyalties of the existing superintendents.
Mr. Brooks, the new president of the board, was already concerned about
the Rahnians' loyalties as the previous board of directors had hired
them. He had been told by a number of owners that prior to the
requisition meeting, the Rahmans were soliciting proxies on behalf of
Philmor/MMG. This influenced his decision to terminate the Rahmans.
Furthermore, the new board believed that most of the Rahmans' duties
related to servicing the Philmor/MMG owned and/or managed rental units
and were not related to providing services to the resident-owners.
The new property manager advised the board that one property manager
would be assigned to the building full time and would do the work that
Ms. Rahman had done. Furthermore, YCC #506 was paying Philmor/MMG rent
for the apartment in which the Rahmans were living because the
apartment owned by YCC #506 to house the superintendent was occupied by
the assistant superintendent couple.
The board instructed management to ask all of the superintendents to
"resign" and if they refused to do so to terminate them. On 07 January
1998 the Rahmans were terminated from their employment. The Rahmans
were required to vacate their apartment by the end of January 1998.
The Rahmans were presented with the offer of two weeks salary in lieu
of notice plus their outstanding vacation pay. However in order to
receive any of the money they were required to sign a release. The
offer included pay in lieu of one week more notice than YCC #506 was
required to provide under the Act. However, the Rahmans did not want to
sign the release.
As a result YCC #506 did not even pay them the monies to which they were
entitled under the Act until April 1998 when they became so desperate
that they agreed to sign the release. YCC #506 did not provide them with
their records of employment until March 1998 even though Mr. Rahman
asked for them several times.
The Board is persuaded that YCC #506 terminated the employment of the
Rahmans because the new board believed that they were aligned with
Philmor/MMG. They were also terminated because the board of directors
took the advice of its new management company that it would receive
better service and save money if YCC #506 used a single superintendent
with maintenance and building skills as well as a cleaning company.
It is credible that the new board would have seen the advantages of
having one superintendent rather than four, especially when employing
four superintendents required the leasing of an apartment.
The application was dismissed.
The board stated:
“Nevertheless, the termination of the Rahmans at that time had
particularly serious consequences because they lost all of their income
and also lost their apartment eight weeks prior to the birth of their
baby. It was not possible to get another job as a superintendent couple
given the pending birth.
The Board is therefore disappointed by the callousness exhibited by YCC
#506 in refusing to pay the Rahmans the termination and vacation pay to
which they were entitled under the Act until they signed the release in
YCC #469 & Labourers Union Local 183
Grievances of Donald Ward and Jeanette Palazzolo concerning unjust termination
Hearings held in Toronto on:
16 April, 23 September, 11 December 2014, 25 March, 21 September, 01 October 2015 and 21 January 2016
Arbitrator: John Stout
Decision: February 15, 2016
A grievance was filed on 19 February 2014 by LIUNA Local 183 on behalf
of Donald Ward and Jeanette Palazzolo who were fired from their jobs as
cleaners and without cause and in violation of the collective labour
YCC # 469 is a 205 unit condominium corporation at 90 Ling Road in Scarborough.
Ms. Palazzolo was never disciplined during her approximately twenty-two (22) years of service. She worked three days a week.
Mr. Ward was hired as a full-time cleaner by the condo in 1978. Mr.
Ward has never worked at any other workplace.
Mr. Ward testified that prior to March 15, 2013 he had never been
disciplined. On March 15, 2013, Mr. Ward was given a written
reprimand for failing to fulfill his duties and responsibilities. The
discipline was grieved on March 27, 2013. An Arbitrator reduced the
written warning to an oral warning.
On February 14, 2014, Ms. Palazzolo was called into a meeting with Mr.
Sharma. According to Ms. Palazzolo the meeting was quite abrupt, with
Mr. Sharma giving her termination papers and requesting that she sign a
Ms. Palazzolo asked Mr. Sharma why she was being terminated and his
response was “a change in business needs”. Ms. Palazzolo said that Mr.
Sharma insisted that she sign a release, but she refused. At the end of
the meeting, Ms. Palazzolo was escorted out of the office by a security
Mr. Ward testified that he was also called into a meeting with Mr.
Sharma on February 14, 2014. During this meeting, Mr. Sharma handed Mr.
Ward his termination letter and advised him that he would be escorted
off the property by a male security guard. Mr. Sharma then requested
that Mr. Ward sign a document before he left the meeting. At this
point, Mr. Ward says he got up and left with the security guard.
In the arbitrator's opinion, the Employer’s intention was clearly
reflected in the documentary evidence. The Employer intended to
terminate the Grievors’ employment and replace them with a single
cleaner provided by EMS
I find that the Employer violated the Collective Agreement by
terminating the Grievors’ employment and entering into the arrangement
with EMS for the services of a heavy duty cleaner. The Employer is
ordered to reinstate the Grievors in their employment and fully
compensate them for all losses, less any mitigation.
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