Employee mistake costs employer thousands

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Employees are often trusted with expensive and necessary work equipment, but a small mistake on their part could have heavy costs for an organization.

One Saskatoon business owner has learned that the hard way after his vehicle was impounded when an employee was caught using a mobile phone while driving. 

An employee of K3 Excavating was caught for the second time driving while using his phone. This time, he was driving a work truck and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. 

Owner Kevin Boychuk told CBC he's the victim of a technicality and it's costing him at least $800 per day, plus hundreds of dollars in towing and impound fees. 

Regardless of who owns the vehicle, if the driver commits an offence, is suspended or disqualified from driving the vehicle can be impounded.

"It just didn't make any sense that the company who did not commit the traffic offence, nor did any of the owners of the company commit the traffic offence, that we were being punished quite severely," Boychuk said. "Our company certainly supports the law but a change to the regulations [is needed] to help businesses to get their earning equipment back."

Boychuk said he doesn't think it's a deterrent to punish a company when it already has policies and procedures in place.

However, Saskatchewan Government Insurance vice president Earl Cameron said employers can make sure there is Bluetooth or hands free technology installed to ensure workers don't have to pick up the phone. 

"I'm sympathetic to owners, but there's also a responsibility on owners to make sure their drivers have good driving records," he said. "When you hire someone, you check that out — especially a commercial driver."
  • Joanne on 2014-08-28 3:20:20 PM

    We have encountered a similar problem. An employee was out with our company wheelchair accessible van with the handicap sign in the windshield when she parked in the handicap spot. The problem was that she did not have a disabled person with her at the time. She was given a ticket for $350 and the handicap pass was taken by the officer. We had to wait until the employee paid the fine and then had to apply for the pass again. Luckily we were able to have the disabled person travel as a passenger in one of our other wheelchair accessible van. If we did not have another van it would have meant that this individual could not have gone out unless we called a taxi or some other mode of transport. We also have a policy which states that employees cannot park in the handicap spot unless they have a disabled individual in the van. But, the employer cannot be there and have to trust the employee and at times gets let down by their employee.

  • Anna on 2014-08-29 3:21:16 PM

    In the case where employees have the control and care of a company supplied vehicle, it is ultimately the company's responsibility to ensure the driver understands the priviledge of driving a company vehicle. Not only does the employee need to heed the Highway Traffic rules and regulations, but needs to project a positive corporate image regardless if the company name is on the vehicle or not. It should be a company policy that any fines incurred by the employee must be paid by the employee. If the company incurs further charges, perhaps they should consider progressive disciplinary action for the offending employee(s). However; if the infraction is due to no fault of the employee, the employee should not be held liable but receive the full legal, financial and moral support of the employer.

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