Alcoholism blamed for liquor store manager’s booze theft

Arbitration board revises decision and determines employer should have accommodated alcoholic rather than fire him
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The British Columbia arbitration board had to reconsider how much alcoholics can be held responsible for workplace misconduct in a case which took more than eight years to resolve.

Brian Gooding, a liquor store manager, stole alcohol from his store for more than a year. When caught, he informed his employer he was an alcoholic and entered rehabilitation immediately.

However, his employer felt he had seriously breached its trust and fired him. The board upheld the firing, agreeing the employment relationship was irreparably damaged, the theft was planned and Gooding couldn’t use his alcoholism as an excuse.