An arbitrator has ordered OC Transpo to reinstate an employee who was fired for an altercation with a bus passenger.

The former driver will have a job where he does not interact with the public and will have less pay.

Paul Gagnier was terminated on November 14, 2011 after engaging in a verbal confrontation with a passenger on his bus.


Matthew Taronno was yelled at by a driver on an OC Transpo bus. (CBC)

The incident was recorded and later posted on YouTube. 

When Gagnier was fired, the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 279 filed a grievance seeking his reinstatement on the basis the termination was an excessive disciplinary response.

The case went to arbitrator Kevin Burkett, who announced on Wednesday night his recommendation that OC Transpo should re-hire Gagnier.

Bus driver was provoked

Burkett said Gagnier's actions were a "major misconduct that, absent compelling mitigating circumstances, warrants termination."

The arbitrator, who said Gagnier was "clearly provoked" leading up to the altercation, ordered the former driver be placed in the "first available non-driving position for which he is qualified."

The City of Ottawa said it will not comment on the decision because it is an internal labour relations matter.