Gas-stealing corrections officer should be corrected, not fired: Adjudicator

Officer used employer’s gas card to gas up own vehicle, but owned up to his actions; breach of trust not necessarily irreparable
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 05/23/2018

A New Brunswick adjudicator has ordered the reinstatement of a correctional officer who was fired after he was caught using his employer’s gas card to put fuel in his personal vehicle, with the officer’s remorse, service history, and the relatively small amount of theft all factors in his favour.

The worker was a correctional officer at an open custody centre for young offenders operated by the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety. Hired on a casual basis in November 2000, he gained full-time status in March 2009.

Over the years, the worker had some attendance issues, which he attributed to stress from his personal life. He had financial problems that caused him to be in arrears for child support for his three children from former relationships and had been prescribed medication to help deal with his stress. He didn’t claim to be stressed by his job, but he didn’t report to work if his stress levels were too high. He claimed he had suicidal thoughts in 2015 and mentioned it to the acting superintendent of the facility where he worked, though he didn’t tell his physician.