Biometric Time Clock Grievance Update

Written by USW 9511 Admin on Thursday August 1, 2019

Yesterday was our scheduled arbitration date regarding the grievance about the biometric time clocks.  The Union and the company provided the arbitrator with our positions and the arbitrator has issued an award in the matter.


A biometrics expert provided information about the amount of personal information used, current encryption technology, and the potential for misuse of the information.  The time clocks in question pose practically no risk of harm to employees with respect to their personal information.


The arbitrator’s award does indicate the employer can implement the biometric time clocks in our workplace, but there are items in the award to ensure members are properly informed about the use of the time clocks and members’ personal information.


The award enacts a 3-month “grace period” to allow members to use an alternate method of using the time clocks, during which the company will provide optional information sessions in regards to how the time clocks work, and how members’ personal information is protected.  At the end of the grace period, all members are to be using the biometric scanner for punching in and out.


The award also requires the company to rescind any and all Performance Notes and discipline issued in regards to this matter.


The contents of the award can be viewed below:


SERCO DES INC. cob as DRIVETEST (“the Employer”)




ARBITRATOR: Peter Chauvin

FOR THE EMPLOYER: Irv Kleiner, Counsel

FOR THE UNION: Frank Arcuri , Staff Representative

AWARD I was engaged by the parties to conduct a mediation/arbitration in relation to a rights dispute between the parties, in accordance with the Ontario Labour Relations Act , 1995 . The dispute is in respect of a Policy Grievance that has been filed by the Union. The Policy Grievance was filed by the Union on April 10th, 2019 in relation to the Employer’s us e of a biometric timekeeping system (“the Grievance”).

The Grievance states that: We have a grievance under the Collective Agreement and or any applicable laws in regards to the requirement to use biometric data for time keeping purposes.

The settlement that was requested in the Grievance is as follows: Full redress immediately, including complete deletion of all pilot project biometric template data and members to be provided non privacy invasive means to clock in/out.

The Union has alleged that the Employer’s use of the biometric timekeeping system violates the four part appropriateness test of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada adapted from R. V. Oakes (1986) and the Collective Agreement , Article 1.1(i). The Employer has denied the Policy Grievance and maintains that the introduction of the biometric time keeping system is permitted by the Collective Agreement and moreover, that the biometric timekeeping system does not violate any Federal or Provincial legislation. I received submissions from both parties with respect to particulars of the Policy Grievance. Particulars were indeed exchanged. After receiving submissions from both parties and after being advised that the parties are desirous of resolving this dispute, I award the following:

1. The Employer is using and will continue to use the pilot biometric time clocks that are in use as of the date hereof and will continue with its earlier plan to deploy biometric clocks as previously communicated to the Union. The Employer has advised the Union, that the Employer does not actually hold any data and that the templates that are used are securely stored.

2. The Employer and the Union will agree to enter into a three (3) month “grace period” as of August 6, 2019 during which time the Emplo yer will offer bargaining unit employees the option of either using the biometric fingerprint time keeping option or, a secondary option that is identified by the Employer (such as for example, keying in an employee number into the system). At the end of t he three month grace period, all bargaining unit employees of the Employer will be moved into and will be required to use the biometric fingerprint time keeping system.

3. During the three month grace period, the Employer will offer optional educational or information seminars which are designed to educate/inform bargaining unit employees with respect to how the biometric clocks in the time keeping system operate, and how the data that is collected is protected in order to ensure privacy.

4. The Employer and the Union will agree to conduct semi - annual reviews for the purpose of addressing any concerns that may exist in relation to the biometric time keeping system. The parties acknowledge the importance of having continuing dialogue with a view to discussing any concerns that either of them may have in relation to the Employer’s use of the biometric timekeeping system.

5. The parties acknowledge the importance of having an effective roll out and implementation process of the biometric time keeping syst em. As such, the parties are also in agreement that with the terms that are set out in this Award and as indicated above, the implementation and roll out will more effectively allow the Union and its members to be more informed while also allowing the Uni on an opportunity to have meaningful discussions about the system through the semi - annual reviews that will be held.

6. The Employer will on a without prejudice and without precedent basis, rescind any existing performance notes and disciplinary notes/le tters that have been issued to bargaining unit employees as of the date hereof, in relation to the biometric time keeping system.

7. I will remain seized in the event that there are any issues or disputes arising out of the implementation of this Award.

Signed at Toronto on July 31 , 2019 . ___________________________________ Peter Chauvin, Arbitrator