Candy worker caught with hand in cookie jar

Employee said anxiety and depression made him steal chocolate bars on the spur-of-the-moment
|Canadian Employment Law Today

This instalment of You Make the Call features an employee caught trying to smuggle product out of his place of work.

Raymond Boodhoo, 45, was a machine operator at a chocolate bar plant for Toronto-based Cadbury Adams Canada. On July 1, 2005, Boodhoo, who had been employed with Cadbury for 19 years, left work at the end of his shift with a bag. It was standard practice for employees to have their bags checked by security as they left to prevent theft of chocolate bars, which cost Cadbury an estimated $200,000 per year. Boodhoo appeared to be in a hurry and quickly showed one side of his bag to the security guard. The guard demanded to see the other side and found two boxes of hazelnut candy bars inside, which Boodhoo said he had found on the floor. The guard went to find the supervisor and Boodhoo went back inside the plant. A short time later, Boodhoo came back out and said he had put them back. He took the supervisor and a guard to the spot in the warehouse where he said he found them and the guard noticed other boxes of chocolate bars piled between some cartons. On Aug. 9, 2005, Cadbury fired Boodhoo for stealing product, which it considered a “most serious industrial offence.”

Boodhoo said earlier that day he had received a telephone call from hismother, who told him his father, who was in Guyana, was dying. He said he felt he had to finish his shift or he’d get in trouble. At the end of his shift, he saw some chocolate bars on top of larger cartons and he took two boxes. He said he didn’t know why he did it and he knew he would be in trouble. His union argued it was an impulsive act caused by anxiety and depression from his father’s condition and thus constituted a disability.