Saskatchewan worker fired after child porn conviction

Off-duty conduct didn't hurt business or worker's ability to do job, but there was potential harm to company's reputation in community
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/25/2018

When an employee is convicted of a criminal charge related to off-duty behaviour, it doesn't always mean the employer can fire that employee. However, when the employer's reputation is at stake, it can be a different story — regardless of whether there is actual harm or only potential harm to the employer's reputation.

Christopher Jacques was hired in 2004 by the Mosaic Company — a producer of finished phosphate products such as crop nutrients, feed ingredients, potash, phospates, and industrial products located in Esterhazy, Sask. — to be a mine operator.

He was disciplined at one point for damaging a bridge chair when it rolled underneath a hardware skid, for which he received a written warning and one-day suspension. He also had another instance of discipline in which he received another warning. Jacques understood that the letters of discipline he received for both instances of misconduct meant that further breaches of the rules of conduct could result in discharge, though he claimed he never received a copy of those rules.