Unacceptable conduct

Theft of stretch wrap sufficient grounds for dismissal without notice
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Neville Mutton worked as an assembler for AOT Canada Ltd., a company involved in assembling truck wheels. The assembly process was performed by 10 to 12 employees who changed position every two hours on the assembly line during a shift. The last process in the assembling was the packaging of the assembled wheels which was done by the use of a wrapper machine located at the end of the assembly line. The wrapper machine held a 50 to 60 lb. roll of stretch wrap (similar to cellophane) measuring 60 to 90 centimetres wide.

Mr. Mutton was dismissed for cause from his employment with AOT. The employer alleged that on Nov. 15, 1999, Mr. Mutton stole several feet of the stretch wrap used on the assembly line. Mr. Mutton denied the allegation of theft and brought an action against AOT for wrongful dismissal.

It was Mr. Mutton’s evidence that all he removed from company property on the day in question were some plastic bags. When rims arrived at the plant for assembly they were packaged in clear plastic bags as a type of protective covering. After the rims were removed the bags were discarded in a receptacle located at the beginning of the line. It was not an uncommon occurrence for the assembly workers to take home those bags, although AOT stated that an employee would require permission to do so.