by Kevin Woolliams
“Miserly with the truth” is one of the first #hr #labourrelations euphemisms I remember learning about. It still sticks with me today. It is, to me, a very nice way for an adjudicator to share that a witness has lied.
Westfair Foods Ltd. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 247 (Sidhu Grievance),  B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 172
In Westfair Foods Ltd. v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 247 (Sidhu Grievance),  B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 172, Arbitrator Taylor was this blunt: “I conclude that the grievor has been miserly with the truth.”
This case has all sorts of goodies in it: drugs, gun charges, jail time and more. But it is also interesting in how the Arbitrator framed the evidence to allow for that conclusion. For each important point that had conflicting evidence, the Arbitrator showed how he concluded the grievor was miserly with the truth. Examples of this are “None of the Employer’s witnesses had any reason to be untruthful”, the fact that managers had made notes of the meeting while the grievor had not and that the union rep who was a witness at some of the meetings was not called to testify to collaborate what the grievor was testifying about.
“I conclude that the grievor has been miserly with the truth.” – Arbitrator Taylor
Faryna v. Chorney
The seminal case of gauging the evidence of witnesses is Faryna v. Chorney. It is a useful case for HR and LR professionals to have in their toolkit, especially when doing investigations or mediating “he said, she said” types of situations.
The factors that Faryna v. Chorney challenges us to consider include:
- The demeanor of the witness while being interviewed;
- The character of the witness’ testimony;
- The extent of the capacity of the witness to perceive, recollect or communicate any matter about which he or she testifies;
- The extent of the witness’ opportunity to perceive or observe any matter about which he/she testifies;
- The witness’ character for honesty or veracity of their opposites;
- The existence or non-existence of a bias, interest or other motive;
- A statement previously made by the witness that is consistent or inconsistent with his/her statements at the interview;
- The existence or non-existence of any “fact” to which the witness testified;
- The attitude of the witness toward the matter in which the witness testifies or toward the giving of testimony; and
- Any admission of untruthfulness the witness makes.
Keep these factors in mind whenever challenged to consider divergent views or evidence. Maybe you will find an opportunity to use the phrase “miserly with the truth” in your work.