An arbitrator says a former Canadian Pacific train conductor who was fired over social media posts is entitled to monetary compensation, but not to getting her job back at the railroad.
Stephanie Katelnikoff was dismissed in November 2017 over disparaging remarks she made about the company online as well as modelling photos that were taken on railway property.
Union lawyers representing Katelnikoff argued the company’s investigation into her conduct was not fair or partial.
Arbitrator Richard Hornung says in his December decision, which was obtained by The Canadian Press, that he agreed with the Teamsters union.
He says some of Katelnikoff’s behaviour warranted a short suspension, but not a dismissal.
LISTEN: Stephanie Katelnikoff responds to CP Rail’s claim that she was fired for safety issues
However, Hornung says social media posts after her firing, especially a sexually suggestive one mentioning the CP investigating officer by name, make it untenable for her to go back to the railroad.
He says in the decision that the post “speaks volumes regarding both her lack of respect for the company and her unsuitability to return to the company as a fully participating employee.”
The union also argued at the arbitration hearing that an emailed complaint about Katelnikoff’s online posts came from a fake person the company made up to give it the pretext for an investigation. Hornung says in his decision that it’s improbable the email came from a legitimate functional address.
CP was not immediately available to comment.
Katelnikoff said in an interview that it’s now up to her union representatives and the company to try to work out an appropriate compensation amount. If they can’t agree, it goes back to the arbitrator.
She said she loved her job at the railroad and is sad she’ll likely never get to work as a conductor again. She’s now working in a shop fixing heavy equipment and trailers for a fraction of the pay.
“I’m with a really good company now so that helps take away the sting of not getting to go back to the railroad,” said Katelnikoff, 30. “At least I’m somewhere that I like and they treat me really well and they’re really understanding and progressive.”
Katelnikoff said she eventually wants to go to law school so that she can help others.
In addition to the railroad photos, CP seemed to take issue with racy pictures posted to the same Instagram account where there was a 2017 selfie of her in a work vest.
Katelnikoff said she’s tired of hearing about women getting flak for what they do outside of work.
“What a girl does in her spare time when she goes home with her life and her body isn’t anybody else’s business but her own. And if it’s not hurting anyone, then it really shouldn’t matter to the company.”
Katelnikoff’s 2017 dismissal was the second time she was let go from the railway.
On Boxing Day in 2014, a train Katelnikoff was conducting derailed, sending 15 cars off the tracks in Banff, Alta. The Transportation Safety Board determined that a broken piece of track caused the crash.
She was fired a month later. The company said it was because she violated rules on injury reporting and protecting an accident scene.
In February 2016, an arbitrator found in Katelnikoff’s favour, saying the grounds for her termination were discriminatory and in bad faith.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
China launches political policing task force: state media – TheChronicleHerald.ca
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China has launched a special taskforce to ramp up political policing to maintain social stability, said the official Procuratorial Daily, the latest move to rein in dissent over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus and protests in Hong Kong.
The taskforce should “crack down on all kinds of infiltration, subversion, sabotage, violent terrorist activities, ethnic separatist activities, and extreme religious activities,” according to the undated notes from a meeting of the taskforce published in the paper on Monday.
The news of the taskforce came on the same day that a Beijing law professor who has been an outspoken critic of China’s ruling Communist Party and President Xi Jinping was taken away by authorities.
The main responsibility of the taskforce is to safeguard China’s political system. “Political security is related to national safety and people’s well-being,” according to the notes.
Referencing the fight against coronavirus, the notes said a government can only guarantee its people’s safety if it maintains a stable political environment.
The taskforce is part of the “Build a Peaceful China” coordination group set up in April and led by Guo Shengkun, China’s top law enforcement official.
It’s launch comes after China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong at the end of June which punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
Hong Kong has been rocked by large, and sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests since mid-2019.
The new security laws have been criticised by pro-democracy activists, lawyers and foreign governments who fear it would be used to stifle dissent and undermine freedoms the former British colony was promised when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The day after the law came into effect, one man was arrested for carrying a Hong Kong independence flag.
(Reporting by Engen Tham and Wang Jing; Editing by Michael Perry)
Kamloops RCMP officer's conduct under review after blackface jokes on social media – Terrace Standard
A Kamloops police officer’s conduct is under review after he made black face jokes in a series of posts on his personal Instagram account.
RCMP Const. Rupert Meinke’s posts showed him receiving a skin treatment. In one photo, a woman is apparently applying a black cleansing mask to his face; another appears to be a selfie with the cleansing mask on.
The photo of the mask being applied is accompanied by this caption: “Black face session. It’s suppose to help my looks. I don’t think it’s working,” followed by a laughing emoji.
The selfie is accompanied by this caption: “Is my skin racist? Micro aggressions matter.”
Meinke’s Instagram is private and it’s unclear when the posts were made, but screenshots of them began circulating on social media late last week.
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky told KTW he cannot speak to specifics regarding Meinke’s Instagram posts or duty status, but said making black face jokes on social media would not be smart.
“In this day and age that we’re in, that would be a dumb thing to do,” Lecky said. “I would certainly look into it.”
Lecky said he is unable to discuss Meinke’s posts because they were made on a personal Instagram account.
“It’s a social media account that is private and it isn’t linked to policing or the RCMP,” Lecky said. “So, I can’t even confirm to you if it’s a member.”
If he were to be made aware of such posts coming from a constable, Lecky said, an internal code-of-conduct investigation would be launched.
Meinke has also worked as a part-time instructor at Thompson Rivers University. He has taught police and justice studies classes.
University spokeswoman Darshan Lindsay told KTW the institution is “looking into” Meinke’s Instagram posts.
“Our commitment is to create a university where everyone belongs, where we show our respect for one another through our actions and in our words,” she said. “While we won’t be providing further comment on this matter, we can confirm the individual has taught courses part-time at TRU in the past.”
Lindsay said Meinke is not currently employed by or teaching at TRU.
Lecky said he was first made aware of the Instagram posts on Sunday, July 5.
CTV News Vancouver also reported on this story and was among media outlets to reach out to Meinke for comment. He replied, saying: “Sorry I cannot comment other than it is a skin care product. Take care.”
“Charcoal face masks, no harm, no foul,” Vanessa Simon, an activist and organizer for Black Lives Matter, told CTV. “But then you’re posting on your social media for the public to see, asking, ‘Is this racist? Micro aggression matters,’ you’re setting yourself up to be ridiculed by the community and he is getting what is coming to him.”
Simon told CTV News she was frustrated when she first saw the posts, opining they are insensitive and in poor taste.
“It’s concerning to me that there’s someone like that in the police department,” she said.
Disney teams up with Kaepernick in ex-NFL star's latest media deal – BNN
Walt Disney Co. will produce a series about the life of football player and activist Colin Kaepernick, part of a new overall deal between the media giant and the quarterback.
Disney will get first crack at new projects from Kaepernick’s Ra Vision Media, which produces work that explores race and social injustice. That will begin with the project about Kaepernick’s own life, that of a star athlete turned civil-rights activist.
Kaepernick was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism in the U.S. The move inspired many of his peers, but also angered large swaths of the population –including President Donald Trump — who took it as a sign of disrespect toward the flag. Kaepernick opted out of his contract before the 49ers could release him, and no team has been willing to sign him since then, turning him into the latest sign of what his fans say is systemic racism.
Disney hails the deal as part of a broader effort to develop stories from the perspective of Black and Brown communities. Kaepernick’s stance has turned him into a face of the civil-rights movement — and without an NFL career to pursue — he is using his platform to tell stories.
He previously agreed to make a show about his early life for Netflix Inc., and his publishing label has a partnership with blogging platform Medium. He is also joining that company’s board.
The Disney agreement ties one of the NFL’s biggest media partners to one of its highest-profile critics. Disney, the owner of ABC and ESPN, airs “Monday Night Football” and devotes hours of radio and television time to dissecting every aspect of the league.
“The Walt Disney Co. remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters,” Executive Chairman Bob Iger said in a statement. “Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race.”
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