Employee fired for kissing co-worker gets his job back

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PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — The St. Joseph’s at Fleming employee who was caught on a hidden camera kissing a female co-worker while standing at a patient’s bedside is getting his job back because a provincial arbitrator has ruled his actions constituted “an invasion of a co-worker’s personal space” — not an invasion of the patient’s space.

“I’m quite taken aback by this,” said Camille Parent, who had placed the hidden camera in his 85-year-old mother’s room last April that caught the man and woman “canoodling” at his mother’s bedside.

He says it “makes no sense” that the reason for the firing was that the man had invaded his female co-worker’s space.

“They were canoodling together,” Parent said. “If anything, they were invading my mother’s space.”

The unnamed employee’s job is being reinstated effective Monday, according to a ruling from the Ministry of Labour’s arbitration services.

The arbitration between St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term-care facility and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2280 states that the employee was discharged with cause on May 22, 2013.

The employee filed a grievance following the firing and it was referred to arbitration.

“The discharge resulted from the grievor’s invasion of a co-worker’s personal space, which took place in a resident’s room while the resident was present,” the ruling reads.

As a result, the employee got his job back. His letter of discharge was removed from his file and replaced with a letter imposing a five-day work suspension.

His seniority and pay will have to be negotiated with the employer, the ruling states.

Parent says the ruling, dated Jan. 24, is “insulting” to his mother.

He says the employees had no regard for his mother when they kissed in her room.

No comment was available Monday from management at St. Joseph’s at Fleming.

Last year, Parent’s mother had broken her hip at the Brealey Dr. facility. Frustrated by what he saw as a non-existent response from the facility and Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Parent bought the camera with the hope of getting some answers.

The resulting images, released to the media and eventually city police, were shocking. Four employees were seen engaging in abusive behaviour.

One employee was seen shoving a feces-filled cloth in his mother’s face, and roughly handling her while she changed her diaper on another occasion.

Another clip caught a worker wiping his nose on his mother’s sheets while he changed them.

All four employees were fired when the footage was released to the media. The resulting attention led to a restructuring of St. Joseph’s at Fleming’s board of directors, the temporary suspension of admissions at the home and a criminal investigation.

All four workers have since appealed their dismissals.

Paul O’Krafka, chief executive officer for St. Joseph’s at Fleming, released a statement last month reiterating that the organization has zero tolerance for elder abuse, but must abide by the ruling.

“We respect the decision of the arbitrator and must work within the process,” O’Krafka stated.

Article Source : http://www.torontosun.com/2014/02/11/employee-fired-for-kissing-co-worker-gets-his-job-back