OK to Fire Long-term Worker for Making Death Threat While Holding Weapon

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A worker who’d worked for a hospital for about 25 years got frustrated with a co-worker’s work practices. So he said, “How would you like me to slit your throat with these scissors?” while he was, in fact, holding scissors. After an investigation, the hospital fired him. The arbitrator dismissed the grievance challenging the termination. The worker made a death threat while holding a weapon, which is “never appropriate or justifiable.” To make matters worse, the worker initially denied the incident and then tried to rationalize his behaviour. Thus, although the worker had a clean record and termination had significant financial consequences, it was justified in the circumstances, concluded the arbitrator [Windsor Regional Hospital v. CAW (Serdena Grievance), [2010] O.L.A.A. No. 261, May 25, 2010].