Firing employee accused of stealing mouthwash was too hasty, board says

Airport employee claimed he thought it was a co-worker's, not a passenger's
|Canadian Employment Law Today

An employee for a passenger and baggage screening services company who was fired after he allegedly stole a bottle of mouthwash shouldn’t have been terminated, the Ontario Arbitration Board has ruled.

In 2006, Canadian airports imposed restrictions on passengers carrying more than 150 ml of gels and liquids in carry-on luggage. At the airport in London, Ont., Aeroguard Eastern Ltd. is charged with storing items confiscated from passengers. The items are put in a temporary container and stored in a cabinet in a supervisor’s office. They are then categorized and recorded, then taken away by the fire department. Employees are not allowed to use or take ­possession of any confiscated items.

In November 2006, Colin Squires, an Aeroguard screening officer, was observed by the site manager removing a bottle of mouthwash from the cabinet and putting it in his pocket. The manager reported it to the interim acting site manager, who said the action constituted theft. Squires was subsequently terminated.