It’s inevitable that personal problems will affect employee performance but that doesn’t mean employers should have to put up with wholly inappropriate behaviour in the workplace – at least that’s what an arbitrator has ruled following a recent Canada Post case.
The case in question centres on one Canada Post employee who was found guilty of stealing funds in 2010 after more than $500 had gone missing from the branch in Ontario.
The anonymous employee admitted taking the money but said she was forced into the act as a result of her significant personal problems – as a result, the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association appealed the decision.
“I planned on paying it back when I got paid,” she said at the time, and claimed that she was “getting counselling and they are teaching me about budgeting.”
The ex-post master cited her long-term, abusive relationship as the reason behind the thefts as well as her serious drug addiction. Dr. Rayudu Koka confirmed she had been in an abusive relationship for about six years and discovered the extent of her addiction - taking as many as 20 speed and ecstasy pills a day.
While the employee’s situation was difficult to say the least, arbitrator Michel G. Picher ruled the extenuating circumstances surrounding the thefts were not justification enough to reverse Canada Post’s decision to dismiss the worker.
While employers should always seek to support employees and improve personal problems when possible, the ruling will come as a relief to anyone who has had to endure unacceptable employee behaviour on a long-term basis.
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