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Ulysses101
Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3360
Experience:  11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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My wife is an instructor at a community college. last 5

Customer Question

Hi there...
My wife is an instructor at a community college. For the last 5 years, a co-worker of hers has been making back handed allegations, accusations, ect. My wife has kept a journal of each incident for the last 4 years.
She has tried to resolve this issue with the HR department, and now the Union, but each time the powers involved have done nothing effective to resolve the issue.
Recently, the co-worker in question accused her of having inappropriate relationships with students, a allegation that threatens her job security. While my wife is confidant she has done nothing wrong (she has screen shots of conversations, social media is clean of anything that might be an issue, ect) she no longer has confidence in the school administration to do anything, the mother of the co-worker in question had a strong relationship with the school, and that seems to have carried over into the situation.
We are both considering legal action at this point. I wondered if you could provide me some direction.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I might add that my wife is a Mexican immigrant to Canada. She has speculated that this MAY be an issue.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Hello, thank you for the question.

What province are you in? Which union does your wife belong to?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are in Manitoba, I'm pretty sure here union is MGEU. The school in question is Assiniboine Community College.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

OK, thanks for that.

When one belongs to a labour union, that union has the sole right and obligation to represent the member as against the employer. If the union isn't doing its job then the remedy is to sue the union. Yes, that's very dicey and problematic if one likes one's job.

Firstly, unless you have any direct evidence that the co-worker's diatribe has a component of racism, that's not an issue. Nor is the mother having ties to the school administration, as the school doesn't want to touch this because it's a union matter.

If the school disciplines the co-worker, then she'll instantly be on the union to grieve it because even if what she was disciplined for is true there's no direct breach of employment contract or performance of employment duties. Yes, the employer has an obligation to keep the workplace safe and productive, but they can't write up everyone for every allegation of "gossip". I appreciate that you consider this far more weighty than gossip but that's how the school will view it.

So your wife needs to start pushing this issue with the union, saying that the co-worker is creating an atmosphere that's not collegial, and is in fact contrary to the spirit if not the letter of a unionized work environment. I'll bet that the union has some internal mediation process for disputes between members that affect the workplace but aren't of such seriousness as to invite discipline. The union has more of an interest in its members getting along than the employer does in its employees getting along.

If your wife is getting no results then she needs to start going higher up the chain of command, eventually threatening to sue the union for not protecting her from slander from fellow member about her own performance on the job.

It strikes me that this isn't what you wanted to hear. There are no easy solutions to this kind of problem. If there's more to dicuss then please reply. If I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.

Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

Is there more to discuss? I wrote a long answer and haven't heard back. Did you see it?

Ulysses

Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.

I'm still here to discuss your wife's issue. Did you read what I wrote?

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