Employer’s rush to judgment leads to judgment against employer

Employer ordered to pay more than $500,000 for accusing employee of theft and withholding evidence from police
By Tom Gorsky
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/22/2012

A lengthy litigation saga lasting more than a decade edged closer to a conclusion with the issuance of a stunning punitive damage award against an Ontario municipality.

After the amalgamation of two townships in 1998, John Pate agreed to accept a demotion from chief building official to building inspector in the newly amalgamated Galway-Cavendish Township.

Pate’s new boss, John Beaven, had became suspicious Pate had committed theft of building fees. Beaven called Pate into work while Pate was away on short-term disability, informing him there were financial discrepancies, but providing no particulars. Pate did not understand of what he was being accused. He refused to accept Beaven’s offer not to call the police in exchange for Pate’s resignation.