Re Abbie J Lane Memorial Hospital and Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU)

Document Type

Arbitration Decision

Publication Date



Employee Grievance, Discharge, Insubordination, Discipline, Good Faith, Just Cause, Terms of Employment


The Grievor, a registered nurse, Worked at the same hospital as her husband, a psychologist. When she was hired, the Grievor was told that she would not work together with her husband in the same unit. For this reason, the Grievor subsequently refused all temporary postings (floats) to her husband's unit, and her refusal was generally accepted. However, on the day in question, the Grievor was asked to float to the particular unit, and, after repeatedly refusing the assignment, she was suspended, with pay, for the remainder of the day for insubordination. At the hearing, the Union raised a preliminary objection that the Employer was now precluded from arguing "just cause" because it had maintained throughout the grievance procedure that the matter was not disciplinary. The Board unanimously disposed of the preliminary objection, holding that while the Employer took that position, that was never the view of the Union or the Grievor, and hence, it was not misled in any way. The Union's argument on the main issue was that the Grievor's refusal to obey was based on reasonable grounds, i.e. that it conflicted with her terms of employment. In response, the Employer argued that the order was within the hospital's prerogative to give, that it did not conflict with any earlier order given to the Grievor, and, even if she thought that it did, she should have obeyed the order and then filed a grievance.


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