The seriousness of time theft

Stealing time compared to stealing employer property
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/09/2019

Question:  Is time theft by an employee — such as not working while being paid during business hours — considered as serious as theft of an employer’s physical property? Both cost the employer money.

Answer: Time theft can be quite costly for an employer and can, therefore, result in severe consequences. It should result in discipline, which will depend largely on the circumstances. There are no absolute rules when it comes to discipline and dismissal; even property theft will not necessarily result in dismissal in all cases.

As I discuss at length in my book, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, while misconduct should result in discipline, summary dismissal is reserved for the most egregious circumstances. Once an employer has established that the employee engaged in misconduct, while will require an impartial investigation, then the appropriate discipline can be assessed. This will require a contextual approach which, as our courts have explained, involves a consideration of all relevant factors, including: