Two GO Transit officers who had previously been fired and rehired have been dismissed again due to a new court judgment.
Clayton Jesset and Dishan Jebamoney allegedly abused a 70-year-old woman with mental-health problems and were promptly let go in 2016.
However, the two men filed grievances with their union and were both reinstated because of a sunset clause — an order made by the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB).
The sunset clause means that any disciplinary incidents are removed from the employee’s record after 18 months.
The alleged assault of the 70-year-old woman was within this time constraint. However, the board alleged that Metrolinx considered past incidents that extended beyond the time constraint.
Jesset and Jebamoney were reinstated and were technically employed by Metrolinx though they did not return to work, according to Anne-Marie Aikins, spokesperson for Metrolinx.
“When the GSB reinstated them, they did not come back to work but we did have to continue to pay them. Those are the rules,” she said.
“They were in fact employed by us still but we did not feel comfortable having them here at work.”
Jesset is listed on the sunshine list as having a $110,386 salary.
Aikins also told Global News that both men have a history of complaints and that “they were accused of a few things.”
Metrolinx appealed with the GSB’s decision and a new court ruling overturned it on Wednesday. However, Jesset and Jebamoney have ordered it back to the GSB.
“Well, there was very good news from the divisional court that totally upheld the firing of the two officers so at this point in time, they are once again dismissed. However they did order it back to the grievance settlement board,” said Aikins.
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Soma Ray-Ellis, an employment lawyer at Gardiner Roberts LLP, told Global News that unionized employees have more rights in some cases.
“Unionized employees often have greater rights than non-unionized employees. For example, here in the collective agreement, they had a sunset clause which meant that any disciplinary record would disappear — in this case, after 18 months,” she said.
“This doesn’t exist in a non-unionized environment.”
Ray-Ellis said that clauses like the sunset clause are potentially outdated.
“What this case shows is that in modern day labour negotiations perhaps we should reconsider amending these clauses when there are cases of violence. There has to be greater accountability and you’re dealing with the public and you’re a public company,” she said.
The issue is now before the courts and whether the two men will continue to receive pay is uncertain right now.
“We’re still talking to lawyers and HR about whether or not we — do we continue paying them at this point? So I don’t know the answer to that at this point,” said Aikins.
— With files from Mark Carcasole