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Comments about Weapons and Killing Something Didn’t Warrant Termination

A female worker made a comment to a co-worker about carrying weapons, meaning her electrician’s knife and wrench. She later joked about “sharpening her weapons” and remarked that “it would feel really good to kill something today.” And in a meeting with supervisors, she mentioned having a knife. She was suspended and then, after an investigation, fired. The Labour Relations Board noted that the worker’s comments about weapons and wanting to kill something “could reasonably be interpreted to constitute a threat to exercise injurious or potentially injurious physical force” and thus constituted workplace violence under the OHS law. She never apologized or express remorse. But the comments weren’t premeditated, there was no pattern of threatening misconduct and she was unlikely to repeat this behaviour again. So although serious discipline was warranted, termination was excessive, concluded the Board [Canadian Union of Skilled Workers v Hydro One Inc., [2014] CanLII 44660 (ON LRB), July 23, 2014].