The ruling came down today, after an investigation ruled out the possibility of a mechanical failure.
Last week a resident shot and posted a video on YouTube, showing the snowblower’s large blades spinning as the machine sat idle and unattended.
When that video emerged, an internal investigation was launched and the worker was suspended with pay, pending the results.
"External expertise said that our equipment, the snowblower, had no irregularities. Everything conformed. There was no mechanical failure," said Bernard Bigras, spokesman for the city of Longueuil on Montreal’s South Shore.
“The employee had 25 years of service. He had a clean record, but you must consider the gravity of the actions...We cannot allow a piece of equipment of this size — that can represent a safety risk to the population — to be left on like that," Bigras said.
"We thought the action was serious, and merited a sanction...Five days of suspension without pay was, for us and the executive committee, justifed.”
The blue collar workers’ union in Longueuil called the incident an “error”, and said the employee should have been treated with more respect.
“To be treated like this is a little disrespectful — regardless of what happened…It was a mistake. The admission of a mistake and being forgiven for it does not seem to be the case in Longueuil,” said Mario Gauthier, the union president of Longueuil’s blue collar workers.