Alberta arbitrator says employer’s broad direction to report personal legal troubles reasonable

On July 13th of last year, Arbitrator Sims held that an employer could promulgate and rely upon a policy that requires employees to report legal troubles with the potential to affect the their ability to work or, more generally, the company’s interests.

The policy language at issue read as follows:

Involvement in a legal matter

If you are involved in a legal matter or a police case which has the potential to affect your ability to perform your job or harm the interests of TELUS, you must immediately inform your manager.

Arbitrator Sims held that this language, read in the context of the employer’s entire ethics policy, was a reasonable means of enabling the employer to assess whether potential risks to its interests needed to be addressed. He was impressed that the employer offered employees a confidential ethics line to seek guidance on their reporting duty, but the decision does not appear to rest on this fact.

Telus Communications Inc v Telecommunication Workers Union, 2012 CanLII 51085 (AB GAA).

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