Legal briefs

Child porn charges lead to instant dismissal; Pot-smoking miner gets job back

Child porn charges lead to instant dismissal
Guelph, Ont. — An employer was justified in firing one of its managers after he was charged with possessing child pornography, even though he had yet to be convicted and didn’t use company equipment or time, an Ontario court has ruled.
Philip Kelly, a materials manager at manufacturing firm Linamar, was arrested after police got a tip that he had used his credit card to purchase child pornography. Linamar argued Kelly had a duty, given his management position, to ensure his conduct did not adversely impact his work activities and responsibilities. The court agreed. Justice Casimir Herold said Linamar had worked hard to build a good reputation in the community. Kelly’s arrest was highly publicized in the local press, which ran the name of his employer. The court said employers are entitled to take reasonable steps to protect their reputations. But the judge made it clear that a charge of possessing child porn should not automatically result in the firing of an employee. The degree of responsibility the employee has, the degree to which the company’s reputation will be affected and whether company equipment was used, should be taken into account.

Pot-smoking miner gets job back
Smithers, B.C. — A worker at the Kemess copper and gold mine fired for smoking marijuana in his on-site accommodations, in violation of a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs, was awarded his job back by an arbitrator. Mark Gardiner, who started smoking pot at age 12, said he smoked three to four times per day and couldn’t function normally without it. The arbitrator acknowledged the need for the company to have a safe workplace, as well as its argument that it wanted to deter other workers, but said the company’s interests could be met without firing Gardiner. The arbitrator handed down a 10-month unpaid suspension and ordered Gardiner to seek treatment for his addiction, completely abstain from marijuana, alcohol or any other mood-altering drugs and consent to random searches of his room at the mine.

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