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N.L. labour board should hear complaint, man says

JOE GIBBONS/The Telegram
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
-Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. -Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Former rescue adviser at Muskrat Falls wants court to rule that board has jurisdiction to hear his case

A former rescue adviser at the Muskrat Falls construction site in Labrador will ask Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Wednesday to order the Labour Relations Board to hear his wrongful dismissal complaint.

The board had earlier ruled it did not have jurisdiction to hear the complaint.

Brian Tucker claims he was terminated from his job in 2016 at Muskrat Falls after pointing out a potential safety hazard and seeking to get it rectified.

Tucker worked with HSE Integrated Ltd. and said that because his immediate supervisor and manager both failed to act on the safety issue to his satisfaction, he contacted the site project manager at Astaldi Canada — the primary contractor on the Muskrat Falls site — and the safety concern was immediately addressed.

Tucker’s actions, however, caused problems for HSE Integrated. The company subsequently lost its contract with Astaldi Canada.

Tucker was fired.

His termination letter it states that he failed to follow proper company protocols and violated the company’s code of conduct — in particular on Feb. 26, 2016 by emailing an HSE Integrated customer (Astaldi) alleging deficiencies in HSE rescue policies.

“We have policies and procedures in place which allow employees to come forward to express their concerns,” the letter stated.

Tucker then asked the company to reconsider and review the circumstances of his job termination.

An internal investigation by HSE Integrated resulted in the following response, according to documents: “HSE’s position remains that you were terminated as a result of your failure to follow the proper chain of command relative to your safety concerns, not because you raised the concerns themselves.”

Tucker took his case for alleged wrongful dismissal to the province’s Labour Relations Board and charged that HSE Integrated had violated the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

HSE Integrated responded by saying the board did not have jurisdiction to hear Tucker’s complaint because Tucker didn’t take his safety concerns to the province’s Workplace, Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, or to an officer or another person concerned with the administration of the act or the regulations concerning the health, safety and welfare of workers at his workplace.

The Labour Relations Board agreed with the company’s argument and rejected Tucker’s complaint, ruling it did not have jurisdiction to hear it.

Tucker filed an application with the court asking it to overturn the Labour Relations Board decision on jurisdiction.

The case is scheduled to be heard Wednesday in St. John’s.

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