Casino security guard gambles on video surveillance

Employee reportedly stole money from lost wallet

A security guard working at a casino in Niagara Falls was fired after an investigation found he stole money on duty — and an arbitrator has upheld the termination.

Graeme Hennessy, who had been working at two of the employer’s casinos in Niagara Falls, grieved his termination alongside Unifor, saying he was terminated without just cause.

In April 2014, Hennessy was accused of stealing $60 in cash that he had found in a wallet in the lost and found area of the casino. His employer alleged he tried to avoid video surveillance when he took the money and, further, that he falsified reports in a log book, to try and hide the theft.

Hennessy was suspended immediately, pending an investigation. The employer consulted video evidence and log books, and then contacted local police, who charged Hennessy with theft.

In May, Unifor informed the employer Hennessy was suffering from a substance abuse problem.

But following the investigation and after consulting the collective agreement — which specifically mentions a discharge penalty in instances of theft — it terminated Hennessy’s employment later that month.

According to the union, the theft resulted from an addiction to narcotics. However, arbitrator Norm Jesin determined there was insufficient medical evidence to back this up, despite the fact there were other forms of evidence indicating such a problem.

Moreover, the employer argued the drug problem was only raised after the grievor was terminated, and said this raises concerns as to whether there was indeed a causal connection between the disability and misconduct alleged.

Despite the collective agreement outlining discharge for cases of theft, Jesin sought to determine whether this was a case of discrimination for a disability, that is, Hennessy’s drug habit.

There was evidence Hennessy had attended a treatment clinic for methadone addicts, but no indication what the treatment was for, or whether it was successful. Therefore, Jesin was unable to find he committed the crime because of his disability, or that the employer discriminated against him in that capacity.

As such, the grievance was dismissed.

Reference: Complex Services, operating as Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Unifor Local 199. Norm Jesin — arbitrator. Simon Mortimer for the employer, Mike Menicanin for the union. July 13, 2015.

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