Work Now and Grieve Later

A widely accepted principle in labour arbitrations indicates that employees who do not agree with an order from a superior may express their concern at the time but, if the order is not modified, they must comply with those orders without further objection. The only exceptions to this principle are a few unique circumstances listed below. After complying with the direction by their superior, the employee is then free to challenge the validity of the order, through the grievance procedure. The rationale for this general principle is that the employer needs to be able to exercise managerial control to maintain continued operations even when controversy may arise, and it is in the employer’s authority to maintain such discipline as may be required to ensure efficient operations.

The exceptions to the work now – grieve later principle are situations where:

  • adequate redress cannot be secured through the grievance and arbitration process,
  • where an order would pose a health and safety risk,
  • where an order would require the employee to perform an illegal act, or
  • in the case of a union official, if complying with the order would result in irreparable harm to the interest of other employees.

If you are faced with one on these exceptional situations contact a union representative immediately and they will provide assistance. In the case of a safety issue, the local Health and Safety representative can also provide assistance.

Remember, in any situation other than those exceptions listed above, work now and grieve later, and let the grievance process address the conflict with your superior.