Job Postings Must Be Accessible: Arbitrator

On February 11, 2015, Arbitrator Randi Abramsky issued a decision interpreting the job posting provisions under the central agreement between Ontario Hospitals and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. Specifically, Arbitrator Abramsky found that postings, whether electronic or paper, must be accessible to ensure that the purpose of these provisions – which is to ensure that Unions and employees are aware of available bargaining unit openings so they may apply for them and exercise their seniority rights – is met.

For over thirty years, the practice at the Health Sciences North (“Hospital”) was to post job opportunities on a physical bulletin board. In 2013, the Hospital unilaterally ended this practice and began posting job opportunities exclusively through a web portal that it had developed. The new system was complex and required employees to follow several steps before being able to access the job postings. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (“CUPE”), Local 1623, challenged the Hospital’s decision as many of its members were unable to access the new system.

Arbitrator Abramsky concluded that there was “evidence that some senior employees’ ability to exercise their seniority to apply for job postings has been diminished by the new online posting system.  The system utilized requires at least a minimal level of computer-use knowledge to access job postings. It is far less accessible […]”

The arbitrator ordered the Hospital to use a posting system that employees are able to access and consequently, “for the time being and until a more accessible electronic system is devised, the Employer must continue to post job openings on the physical bulletin board, in addition to posting them online.”

CUPE, Local 1623 was represented by its President, Dave Shelefontiuk, and Wassim Garzouzi from our firm.