Case Report – Implementation of biometric timekeeping system upheld

On August 7th, Arbitrator David Murray dismissed a grievance that challenged the implementation of a biometric timekeeping system. According to Mr. Murray, when an employer proves the general superiority of a new technology, the standard for invasiveness that would justify restricting its implementation is high. He said:

The union grounded its case squarely on the claim that Kronos violated the management rights clause of the collective agreement. No evidence was brought that it did. Instead the union pointed out that the evidence of Erskine could be interpreted to justify the view that if there was anything wrong with the old ITR system (and the union said, correctly, there had been no evidence of time stealing or buddy punching) it could be rectified with a system less technologically advanced than Kronos. That line of reasoning is not only not persuasive, it is positively Luddite. If the employer believed that Kronos was state-of-the-art and met its needs why should it have to put up with second best absent any evidence that employees rights were being infringed? If the opportunity had existed who would not want to move from the Age of Sail to the Age of Flight without going through the Age of Steam first?

Arbitrator Murray was very critical of Arbitrator Timms’ IKO Industries award, in which she allowed a grievance challenging the same timekeeping system.

Re Good Humour – Breyers and United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 175, [2007] O.L.A.A. No. 406 (Murray) (QL).

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