The aribataror called Trackel's actions "deliberate" and "dishonest" (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)

Kelowna man fired from UPS, accused of punching woman and sending offensive text

After a series of incidents including a physical altercation, Brian Trackel has been fired by UPS

After being terminated, rehired and terminated again, an ex-UPS driver’s time with the company has come to an end when an arbitrator ruled against him last Monday (July 26).

Brian Trackl started with UPS in 2008, and during his twelve years at the company received five letters of discipline.

One of those included a violent altercation between Trackl and a Kelowna Pharmasave employee. On May 13, 2020, Trackl picked up a shift on his day off, and as part of his route stopped at a local Pharmasave. He had a history of disagreements with the regular contact at this store, but nothing like what was caught on security camera footage.

The video, entered into the court record, showed the contact, described as a “slight woman” around 60 years old approach Trackl, a 39-year-old man. The two would disagree about whether Trackl had to accept and take packages that the woman wanted to return.

She can be seen, in the video, putting the packages in the UPS truck, Trackl would then take them out and drop them on the ground.

The woman can be seen walking towards Trackl, who then allegedly shoved her away from him with significant force. When she came back and tried to hit him, Trackel reportedly punched her in the face with “some force”.

Trackel admitted in court that he punched her with a closed fist while also maintaining he hit her “lightly” after she “rushed at him and tackled him” up until the beginning of the hearing.

UPS launched an investigation into Trackl’s behaviour a few weeks later. When they interviewed Trackl, he did not show remorse for getting involved in the situation and referenced the “Me Too” movement, saying “these days due to the #metoo movement, the woman is always right and the man is always a monster”. After the investigation, he was would be fired for the first time, on May 25, 2020.

Trackl believed he was wrongfully terminated and filed a grievance in an attempt to get his job back. After a meeting with UPS’s BC division manager Roy Bains on June 16, he was rehired with a one-month served suspension as punishment for what he did. The Bains believed he regretted his actions and wanted to move forward with the company.

But, this incident was not what led to his termination.

What the employer didn’t know before the July 16, meeting is that Trackl had become a FedEx employee and still held animosity toward the company. On the night of June 15, Trackl sent a text that read “F—- UPS” to a former UPS driver in which he was wearing a FedEx uniform.

Trackl justified this at the hearing by saying that he and his friends had a “dark sense of humour”.

After learning about the exchange through screenshots of this text message, Bains felt Trackl had “tricked [him] into portraying a certain image of himself [at the June 16 Meeting] so he could get his job back,” and so it was decided to rescinded Trackl’s reinstatement.

The Teamsters Union grieved, and while they called the case “conceptually odd” they maintained that UPS did not have the right to terminate Trackl on the grounds of dishonesty.

However, the company argued that the other times Trackl was written up for misconduct and lack of apology for the “F—- UPS” text show that a healthy employer-employee relationship is not possible.

In the end, the arbitrator Koml Kandola, sided with the company, expressing concerns over Trackel’s intense animosity to the company.

“While it is not unreasonable for an employee to be upset at having been fired, I find the circumstances of this case go beyond mere upset, or complaining to a friend,” said Kandola in a written decision.

“This is not an employee who is getting the message regarding the employer’s expectations for a continued employment relationship.”

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@_isabellaggrace
isabella.harmel@kelownacapnews.com

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