Addiction Does Not Mitigate Termination for Theft

|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 01/18/2011

Caught red-handed, and later fired after video surveillance recorded him stashing a 40-ounce bottle of Crown Royal in his pants, a warehouse worker for a provincial government liquor retailer grieved his termination.

The union argued that the termination was void. The employer’s post incident interview with the worker before he exited the building constituted a “meeting” within the meaning of the collective agreement, the union said. This violated the collective agreement because — in addition to the right to union representation — the contract also entitled the worker to advance notice about the purpose of any meeting that may lead to discipline.

In any case, the union said, a lesser penalty was appropriate. The theft was an aberration propelled by drug addiction. The worker was contrite and was taking action to address his condition.