Promotional T-shirt runs afoul of zero tolerance

Fired employee reinstated because intent to steal not shown
By Lorna Harris
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/08/2004

John Van Tent’s daughter was a big fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Van Tent’s employer, Brewer’s Retail, was selling cases of beer containing Leafs’ T-shirts as part of a promotion during the hockey playoffs. When Van Tent, a clerk at The Beer Store, saw a chance to get his daughter one of the T-shirts, he jumped at the chance and took a shirt from a case of beer being returned by a customer.

His employer saw his actions as theft and fired him.

Van Tent, who had worked for Brewer’s Retail for 23 years, launched a grievance. His union said he had not stolen the shirt but was interrupted by a customer before he could ask his boss for permission to keep it.