The usage and enforcement of zero tolerance policy in addressing the issue of sexual harassment within a unionized working environment have become increasingly prevalent over a long period of time. The proponents of this policy have emphasized the fact that the use of a zero-tolerance policy simultaneously helps to discipline the perpetrators of such acts and, at the same time, acts as a deterrent to other employees. However, unionized establishments have always been caught in an adversarial relationship where they often rise to the occasion by defending union members who are adversely affected. In almost all instances, such cases have gone to arbitration hearings for subsequent adjudication. The arbitration cases reviewed showed that a zero-tolerance policy is difficult to practice within a unionized workplace environment. Moreover, it is hardly effective in discouraging workplace sexual harassment without proper organizational education and awareness.
Zero tolerance policy, Sexual harassment, Arbitration, Progressive Discipline Introduction Basically, a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment simply means that the perpetrator of such an act is automatically subject to summary dismissal, which could be subsequently interpreted to mean anything up to and including termination of employment, even for first-time offenders.
The article focused on the application of a zero-tolerance policy concerning the issue of workplace sexual harassment through a thorough examination and critical analysis of eight arbitration cases. The author also extensively discussed and practically highlighted the implications of the policy and the adversarial relationship that often arise between management and labor unions in practice. Furthermore, the article distinguished between sexual discrimination and sexual harassment and discussed the importance of properly educating employees to raise their level of awareness through workplace seminars.
Application and Implications of Zero Tolerance Policy, The first set of arbitration cases examined consisted of three cases respectively. The first case was the BCTV case, where in spite of an existing zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, three female reporters complained about sexual harassment against a middle-aged cameraman. Although the perpetrator was not found guilty when the case came up for arbitration, he resigned from his workplace. The second case was the Western Grocers case, where a female employee accused a male colleague of sexual harassment. Although the employer did not have a policy on sexual harassment in place, the man was fired, despite having a clean service record before the incident. The labor union took the case to an arbitration hearing. The man apologized to the victim, and the verdict was amended to a three-month suspension. The third case was the West Coast case in which a man's job was terminated for sending sexually explicit materials to another fem...