Aide’s Grabbing of Co-Worker’s Wrists Warranted Suspension—Not Firing

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As a health aide was about to enter a resident’s room, a co-worker grabbed a towel from the linen cart he was using. He asked her to give the towel back. When she refused, he tightly grabbed her right wrist and then her left. She dropped the towel, which he picked up. After the co-worker complained, the aide was fired. An arbitrator ruled that although discipline was warranted for the incident, termination was excessive. The aide was a long time employee with a clean disciplinary record, who acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and cooperated with the investigation. The incident, although serious, was the result of horseplay gone awry. Thus, a three-month suspension without pay was appropriate, concluded the arbitrator [Saskatchewan Assn. of Health Organizations v. CUPE, Local 3967 (Montgomery Grievance), [2011] S.L.A.A. No. 1, Jan. 13, 2011].