The Hospital required all of its Pharmacy Assistants to upgrade to the new regulated classification of Pharmacy Technician to maintain employment at the Hospital. Some of the affected employees were unable to meet the regulatory requirements. As a result, the Hospital fired them. It was the Union’s position that the Hospital was required to provide these employees with notice of layoff under Article 9.08(A). The Hospital took the position that the employees in question had been terminated for (non-disciplinary) cause, not laid off.
The Board of Arbitration, chaired by Russell Goodfellow, agreed with the Union. He found that their were different responsibilities and accountabilities associated with the roles of Pharmacy Assistant and Pharmacy Technician, and as such these were different positions. What the Hospital had done was eliminate the Pharmacy Assistant positions and create new Pharmacy Technician ones, with the result that the former Pharmacy Assistants had been laid off within the meaning of Article 9.08(A).
This case confirms the broad reach of the notice requirements in Article 9.08(A). It makes it clear that when a Hospital chooses to fundamentally alter the requirements of a position, for regulatory reasons or otherwise, it must provide notices of layoff if those positions are occupied. The Award puts to rest the Hospital’s theory of termination for ‘non-disciplinary cause’ – which, in this era of ever changing regulatory requirements, could have undermined the rights protected by Article 9.08(A).