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Queen's University

United Brotherhood

In this case, an employee of 18 years developed kidney failure. After 2 years absence, during which his employment was protected by a 2-year termination clause, he learned that he required a kidney transplant. When he informed his employer that he required up to another 5 years off while waiting for a kidney donor, the employer applied the termination clause.  The Union filed a grievance and the grievor found a live donor who agreed to donate one of his kidney's within a year. His medical specialist stated that the grievor had a good chance of recovering and would likely be and returning to work soon after the operation.  The employer refused to reinstate the grievor, indicating that it would be impossible to hold the employee's position for yet another year without incurring undue hardship.

The Arbitrator allowed the grievance, holding that the employer had discriminated against the employee when it automatically invoked the termination clause without taking into consideration the employee's positive prospects for full recovery.  It had also failed to prove, in a concrete manner, that maintaining the job another 12 months while waiting for the kidney transplant would lead to "a level of pervasive, irresolvable financial distress and corporate insecurity".

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000