We recently assisted a Member who sought help from the Legal Fund because he believed the promotion process was flawed. He also felt that the line officer was biased in favour of the one candidate over another and therefore there were grounds for filing a grievance.
In 2011, the Member applied for a promotion to S/Sgt. and was unsuccessful. He filed a grievance and once all relevant material was obtained, he learned that the successful candidate had failed to provide all up to date material and therefore was chosen under false pretenses. His grievance contained three main arguments: The successful candidate should not have been included because he/she submitted an incomplete application; the SLO did not provide adequate rationale for his decision; there was bias from the SLO in the selection process.
The line officer either ignored or was unaware of vital information pertaining to the successful candidate and as a result the Grievance was upheld at Level 1. The adjudicator ordered that the griever’s file along with the other candidates’ files be reassessed and the successful candidate would be promoted. The Griever didn’t agree with this, primarily because none of the other candidates had filed a grievance. He therefore, asked that the Grievance be sent to Level II.
The Level II adjudicator basically agreed with the Level I adjudicator with the exception of two changes: The application was to be re-assessed by a different SLO; the result would not be backdate.
After several years of trying to resolve this internally, the Member applied to the Legal Fund in an effort to find justice on 2017-03-29. A legal opinion was sought from Legal Fund Counsel. Counsel immediately filed an application in Federal Court to protect the Member’s timeline. Opinion of Legal Fund counsel was that there was a good chance of success should the issue be heard at Federal Court hearing.
The Member’s affidavit had to be file by 2017-05-03 followed by the respondent’s affidavit and then potentially on to a hearing in Federal Court. Before this could happen, the Member was notified of his promotion in the very position he had occupied in an acting role and it was backdated along with the appropriate compensation to 2012-01-09.
There are many lessons to be learned from this difficult exercise not the least of which is that Force decisions are not always fair and members don’t have their grievances dealt with in a timely manner. Why, after many years fighting for justice, does it take the threat of a Federal Court hearing to get some management personnel to come to their senses and apply basic principles of justice and fair play. Without the Legal Fund, this member would have to bear the cost of a legal opinion and a Federal Court action. Are you a member of the Legal Fund?