Dalhousie University v Dalhousie Staff Assn

Document Type

Arbitration Decision

Publication Date



Dalhousie, Overtime, Secretary, Approval, Collective Agreement, Time Limit


The Grievor was an administrative secretary with Dalhousie University from September, 1979 to June 1982. During this period, the Grievor's immediate supervisor frequently assigned tasks to the Grievor, and instructed her to perform them by working overtime, if necessary. The Grievor's cumulative record of overtime hours was approved periodically by her supervisor. In December of 1979, a University administrator informed the Grievor's supervisor that future overtime work could be authorized only if the employee agreed to be compensated with paid time off rather than overtime pay. The Grievor was aware of this directive. Her supervisor, however, assured her that she eventually would receive overtime pay for subsequent overtime work. On June 2, 1981, the Grievor was informed by the Vice-President of Administration and Finance that she would be compensated only in the form of paid time off. The Grievor filed a grievance on June 8, in which she claimed overtime pay for 239 1/4 hours, worked between December, 1979 and April 1981. The Employer argued that the extra time worked by the Grievor did not come within the definition of overtime in the Collective Agreement. This definition stated that extra time worked was not "overtime" unless it was "specifically approved in advance by the responsible supervisor". The Employer submitted that the arrangement under which the Grievor performed extra work did not constitute specific approval in advance. Alternatively, the Employer argued that because the grievance was not filed until June 8, 1981, the Grievor could not be compensated for failures to pay overtime in the months of December, 1979 to March 1981 inclusive. In relation to these months, the grievance was filed outside the mandatory time limit in the Collective Agreement. The Union claimed that the Employer was stopped from relying on the time limit.


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