Case Report – Arbitrator orders stipulations on use of in-plant video surveillance

Last July, Arbitrator Craven partially upheld a policy grievance that challenged the expansion of an employer’s in-plant video surveillance system. Last December 14th, he issued a remedial order that imposed certain conditions on the employer’s use of video surveillance.

As I explained in this post, last July Arbitrator Craven found that the employer had breached a technological change provision in its collective agreement by not engaging in discussions with the union when it expanded its system. He ordered the employer to meet with the union to engage in discussions.

The parties were not able to reach a resolution, and came back before Arbitrator Craven in December. Following a hearing, he made an order that included the following stipulations:

  1. The Employer shall not use the video surveillance system to monitor employees, in real time or otherwise.
  2. Recordings made by the video surveillance system shall be retained for no longer than six (6) months, except in the circumstances set out in the following paragraph.
  3. When an incident or investigation occurs requiring the retention of video surveillance recordings, the Employer may retain those recordings for as long as is necessary for the purpose of dealing with the specific incident or investigation (including any related legal process or proceeding), but shall not use them for any other purpose.
  4. When the Employer intends to use recordings made by the video surveillance system in any legal process or proceeding which specifically relates to the Union or to a member of the bargaining unit, the Employer shall provide the Union with a copy of the recordings prior to their use in the legal process or proceeding.
  5. When the Employer intends to rely on recordings made by the video surveillance system in support of employee discipline, the Union and the employee concerned shall have the same right to access and view the recordings as if they were documents in the central personnel file as provided for in article 4.03(a) of the Collective Agreement.

Despite the reference in the fifth stipulation, none of these appear to turn on any specific collective agreement language.

Cargill Foods, division of Cargill Ltd. v. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 633 (Collective Agreement Grievance), [2009] O.L.A.A. No. 633 (Craven) (QL).


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