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EF International Language School Ltd. - Consent Order Settlement Agreement Explained - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

On March 27, 2023, the BCGEU sent all EF International Language School members a bulletin advising them that the Union had filed a grievance regarding EF International Language School directing their employees to use their personal cell phones to complete work-related tasks such as taking attendance and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA).

In this bulletin, the Union strongly recommended that EF international Language School employees contact their Employer and request an alternative method for completing all tasks that require the use of their personal cell phone. It was and remains the Union's position that EF International Language School is in violation of Subsection 21(2) of the BC Employment Standards Act (ESA), which states that an Employer must not require an employee to pay any of the Employer's business costs, except as permitted by the regulations. In short, the cost of doing business must not be borne by employees.

On April 13, 2023, the Union's counsel and EF International Language School's counsel met with a Special Investigating Officer at the Labour Relations Board to discuss whether or not the Union's bulletin and the actions of the EF International Language School members were considered to be 'strike action'; thus, a violation of the BC Labour Relations Code.

In the end, the Union and EF International Language School agreed in a Consent Order and Settlement Agreement that, due to a misunderstanding, the Union and members had breached the Labour Relations Code. EF International Language School's position is that employees must use multi-factor authentication on their personal devices.

Here is how the Settlement Agreement applies to you:

1. It was agreed that all EF International Language School Bargaining Unit employees will follow instruction to use multi-factor authentication on their personal cell phone devices unless doing so is impossible or impractical. If such situations exist and are brought to your Employer's attention, your Employer will provide practical and reasonable alternatives;

2. If an employee incurs business expenses, as defined by the Employment Standards Act, which results from using muti-factor authentication, such expenses will be reimbursed and any applicable tax forms, such at the T2200, shall be issued by the Employer.

3. This Settlement Agreement is without prejudice to the Union's right to pursue the existing grievance on this matter; and

4. The Union may table this issue in collective bargaining in the future.

As such, the Union requests that you follow the legal principle 'work now, grieve later', meaning, please return to using your personal cell phone devices to complete Employer directed work. Should you incur any additional costs due to using your own personal data or additional costs due to sending or receiving text messages, please connect with your Employer to inquire how best to claim such costs.

In the meantime, your Union will actively pursue the grievance filed on this matter and will continue to meet with your Employer to bargain your next Collective Agreement.

Your Bargaining Committee will be meeting with your Employer to continue negotiations of the non-monetary proposals on April 25th and 26th, and we have additional dates scheduled for May 30th and 31st.

Your continued show of solidarity is so important to the bargaining process. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Consent Order or the Settlement Agreement, please connect with your Bargaining Committee members.

In solidarity,

Katie Smith - Staff Representative