EMPLOYMENT | Bad Behaviour 6.0: Employees getting away with...

AuthorBowal, Peter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

An exhibitionist teacher, a foul-languaged childcare worker and a lustful caretaker are three more cases of employees getting away with bad behaviour.

In my opinion, the phrase "fuck off" is just a forceful and intense way to say "leave me alone" or "go away". On September 12, 1996, I find that Mrs. Legere used the phrase in the sense of saying forcefully and intensely... "leave me alone". Legere v Ymca-Ywca Of Saint John (NBQB, 1997) at para 31

This article continues this column's series identifying cases of egregious behaviour in Canadian workplaces that arbitrators and judges ultimately excused. It starts with the employer firing the employee. The employee objects, and the arbitrator or judge agrees with the employee. The employee returns to work, often reinstated with back pay. In non-unionized cases, the judge or arbitrator usually orders the employer to pay damages to the employee for wrongful dismissal and legal costs.

This installment of head-scratching outcomes in dismissal-for-cause cases comes from our education system. Teachers, as professionals, are positive role models held to a high degree of moral propriety in the community. The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed this in its 1997 Toronto Board of Education decision. Other support staff working with school-aged children should be held to similar standards at work.

After reading these cases from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, one asks, "why does the law excuse this behaviour and leave these employees working with children in schools?"

Public Indecency

In the fall of 2007, Peter Speight, a teacher in Nova Scotia, on three occasions stopped his car and hailed a woman on the sidewalk. He would then masturbate in front of her when she came to the driver's window. He pleaded guilty to the crime of public indecency and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Speight's employer school board suspended him when he was charged. They then dismissed him with cause when he was convicted. Speight appealed the firing to an arbitration appeal board under Nova Scotia's Education Act.

After an eight-day hearing, the arbitrator concluded the school board should not have terminated Speight. The arbitrator reduced the discipline to a one-year suspension and reinstatement. He reasoned Speight was "a teacher with considerable ability and excellent promise." Speight underwent treatment with a psychologist who considered him rehabilitated with very little risk of re-offending...

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