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From: TSS ()
Subject: 'Sloppy' feed mill must pay fired worker ''incident he was fired over was not unusual'' CANADA
Date: April 10, 2005 at 10:22 am PST

'Sloppy' feed mill must pay fired worker


An Alberta livestock feed mill - taken to court at the height of the mad cow probe after firing a worker for wrongly mixing feed ingredients - has been ordered to compensate the man for wrongful dismissal. A Court of Queen's Bench justice said the company had tolerated such conduct by the man in the past and the incident he was fired over was not unusual.

"The incident of August 28 (2002) is properly viewed as an example of the type of sloppy work performance that had been tolerated in the past by the company," Justice Sheila Greckol ruled.

The man, a shift foreman, was fired after improperly mixing two orders, one intended for a Holstein farm, the other for a major cattle auction mart.

A series of similar problems were cited on employee records for the man, who had worked at the plant since 1995. But throughout, he had been promoted and received raises, Justice Greckol noted.

The Sun first revealed in December 2003 the improper mixing of feed at the plant.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) officials said at that time that the mill in question had been eliminated as a possible source of feed for Canada's May 2003 case of mad cow disease.

Since then, investigations into three of the four Alberta-linked mad cow cases have all shown that they may have been caused by feed that was mixed before 1997 rules came into force, limiting what could be fed to cattle.

Prior to those rules, feed could contain parts of other cattle known to be "risk material" for the spread of the disease. The fourth probe was inconclusive.

But any tolerance of "sloppy work performance" at Alberta feed mills is now a thing of the past, said Tom Spiller, CFIA's senior programs manager for Alberta north.

"There's no tolerance relative to the regulations," Spiller said.

"People are concerned about possible contamination (of cattle feed) and there's been lots of changes" to ensure it doesn't happen.

Those include new audit rules for feed plants and a sharp increase in the number of federal inspections at feed mills, Spiller said.


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