So­cial me­dia con­tent lands CP con­duc­tor in hot wa­ter

Edmonton Journal - - CITY -

I was shocked at the length they went to in in­ves­ti­gat­ing my per­sonal so­cial me­dia ac­counts and my off-duty ac­tiv­ity.

A Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way con­duc­tor who was fired fol­low­ing a 2014 de­rail­ment in Banff and later re­in­stated has been dis­missed again — this time over so­cial me­dia posts that in­cluded sev­eral sexy mod­el­ling pho­tos.

Stephanie Katel­nikoff, 28, said she re­ceived a let­ter from her em­ployer last fall at­tached to a pack­age of screen grabs from her so­cial me­dia ac­counts and was told to re­port to the rail­way’s Cal­gary of­fice for a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“This in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in con­nec­tion with con­duct and ac­tions on In­sta­gram and Face­book and other so­cial me­dia ac­counts, and the con­tent of and com­pli­ance of those post­ings with com­pany poli­cies,” read the let­ter.

Some of the pho­tos in the pack­age, which Katel­nikoff pro­vided to The Cana­dian Press, show her in cut-off jean shorts and a midriff-bear­ing top pos­ing on rail­way tracks. Oth­ers are nudes of her shot from be­hind or the side, or of her in lin­gerie.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion pack­age also had on­line com­ments that in­cluded a 2016 Face­book post un­der the name Steph Kat that calls the rail­way’s code of ethics a “short fic­tional com­edy.”

An­other pro­file un­der the name Ste­vie Rae says: “Re­sume: Google Banff train crash,” fol­lowed by a laugh­ing emoji.

“I was shocked at the length they went to in in­ves­ti­gat­ing my per­sonal so­cial me­dia ac­counts and my off-duty ac­tiv­ity,” Katel­nikoff told The Cana­dian Press.

“I can’t imag­ine how long some­body spent comb­ing through ab­so­lutely ev­ery lit­tle bit and piece of my so­cial me­dia.”

Katel­nikoff said most of her Face­book feed ac­tu­ally per­tains to her char­ity work.

She said mod­el­ling is a fun hobby that has al­lowed her to chan­nel her cre­ativ­ity and boost her self­es­teem.

“I just can’t see how that af­fects my em­ploy­a­bil­ity,” she said.

On Box­ing Day in 2014, a train Katel­nikoff was con­duct­ing de­railed, send­ing 15 cars off the tracks in Banff. A prod­uct used to make con­crete called fly ash, as well as soy­beans, spilled into a creek. The Trans­porta­tion Safety Board de­ter­mined that a bro­ken piece of track caused the crash.

Katel­nikoff had some res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms from breath­ing in the ash, but no one was oth­er­wise in­jured.

She was fired a month later and the com­pany said it was be­cause she vi­o­lated rules around in­jury re­port­ing and pro­tect­ing an ac­ci­dent scene.

She had been on the job less than six months and later crit­i­cized the train­ing she re­ceived in the press.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, ar­bi­tra­tor Mau­reen Flynn found in Katel­nikoff’s favour, say­ing the com­pany’s grounds for ter­mi­na­tion were “dis­crim­i­na­tory” and in “bad faith.”

Katel­nikoff said the Team­sters Canada Rail Con­fer­ence is griev­ing her most re­cent dis­missal. The union did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Katel­nikoff said her flip­pant on­line com­ments were a healthy way to process what she went through.

“It was a trau­matic event and I used hu­mour as a cop­ing mech­a­nism. I don’t think you can fault a girl for do­ing that,” she said.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion pack­age also men­tioned a YouTube video crit­i­cal of CP Rail, which the com­pany said showed “gross in­sub­or­di­na­tion and in­so­lence.” Katel­nikoff ad­mits the de­liv­ery may not have been ap­pro­pri­ate, but stands by her mes­sages re­gard­ing the com­pany’s ap­proach to safety and hu­man rights.

CP spokesman Jeremy Berry said the com­pany would not com­ment on an in­di­vid­ual case.

Train con­duc­tor Stephanie Katel­nikoff was fired by CP for so­cial me­dia posts that in­cluded risque pho­tos as well as crit­i­cisms of her em­ployer. She says the Team­sters Canada Rail Con­fer­ence is ap­peal­ing the de­ci­sion.

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