CP Rail conductor in Banff derailment to return to work
Stephanie Katelnikoff was fired, but took her case to arbitration
Fourteen months after a CP Rail train derailed in Banff National Park, the conductor of that locomotive will return to work for the railway.
Stephanie Katelnikoff was dismissed after the incident, but she took her case to arbitration and won.
Arbitrator Maureen Flynn ruled this month that Katelnikoff should be reinstated and CP Rail should give her compensation for lost wages and benefits.
"There was some jumping and then some screaming and there might have been a little bit of happy crying," Katelnikoff said of her reaction. "I like the job itself and I really liked my coworkers."
- CP Rail train conductor speaks out on her firing after Banff derailment
- Banff derailment: spilled ash could suffocate fish eggs, environmental group says
- Derailment blamed on loose and damaged portion of track
The Banff derailment was her second trip as a conductor for CP Rail. She said her training didn't teach her how to react in the event of a derailment. She also alleged the derailment was the reason she was fired from the railway.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada ultimately ruled the derailment was caused by a fracture in the heel block assembly of the north switch-point rail.
The arbitration case unveiled one of the reasons Katelnikoff was dismissed was because she had filed a sexual harassment complaint against a fellow employee.
"Overall, the arbitrator finds that the grounds cited for Ms. Katelnikoff's dismissal are factually inaccurate and unfounded," Flynn wrote in her report. "Furthermore, those allegations appear to be a camouflage of the company's actual reasons that are discriminatory and in bad faith."
Considering her relationship with management, Katelnikoff isn't expecting to be welcomed back with open arms.
"I definitely think I'm going back with a giant target on my back," she said. "But I'm also not scared."
CP Rail said Katelnikoff is currently being processed back into the company. Besides familiarity training, she may receive additional instruction based on what type of job she takes.