Plant Can’t Ban Short Pants to Protect Workers from Aluminum Exposure
A window and door manufacturing plant revoked workers’ right to wear Bermuda shorts at work. The union claimed the new long-pants-only rule violated the collective agreement; the plant argued it was an important safety policy to protect workers’ lower legs from exposure to aluminum and PVC materials. The Québec arbitrator sided with the union. True, the collective agreement gave management the express right to revoke its agreement to allow workers to Bermuda shorts where “demanded by” health and safety. But the arbitrator wasn’t impressed that the policy met that standard. Wearing shorts is really no different from wearing a short-sleeve shirt. The danger had to be a lot more immediate and compelling to invoke the right to revoke the Bermuda shorts rule, the arbitrator concluded [International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Glaziers and Glass Workers, Local 1135 c Jeld-Wen of Canada Inc., 2019 CanLII 60152 (QC SAT), July 4, 2019].