Scott and Treasury Board (Canadian Heritage - Parks Canada)
- Before: R. Labelle
- Appearances: M. Tynes, for the Grievor; M. Crocker, for the Employer
- Decision Rendered: 1997-04-03
Termination (disciplinary) - Criminal charges - Unauthorized use of government long distance telephone system - Removal of confidential government files - Unauthorised involvement in criminal investigation - grievor, who had been with the RCMP for more than 20 years, was employed as Manager, Law Enforcement, in the National Resources Branch of Parks Canada - the basic functions of law enforcement focused on resource protection and the maintenance of public peace on all lands under Parks Canada - on March 31, 1994, grievor was arrested while trying to pass counterfeit American bills at the Ottawa airport - he was charged by the local police with possession of and uttering counterfeit American currency - the employer removed the grievor from active duty - on April 20, 1994, employer advised grievor that he was suspended with pay pending the outcome of its investigation into his activities - in October 1994 employer became aware that grievor had been using his government calling card for long distance calls even though he was suspended from duty - when confronted with this, grievor stated that he had been using the card to organize his defense and to look for another job - employer immediately cancelled his card - on January 6, 1995, grievor was discharged from employment for the alleged destruction of government files, the unauthorised use of the government intercity telephone network for personal long-distance calls, his unauthorized involvement in a counterfeiting investigation and for having been charged with possession of and uttering counterfeit U.S. currency - subsequent to his discharge, grievor pleaded guilty to the uttering charge and received a conditional discharge with 15 months probation - adjudicator pointed out that the time for determining just cause is at the time the employee is discharged - as a general rule, the fact that an employee has criminal charges pending against him will not be grounds for discharging him from employment although in an appropriate case it may be grounds for suspending him either with or without pay pending the resolution of the charges - at the time the employer discharged the grievor, the criminal charges pending against him had not been dealt with by the appropriate court - accordingly, the employer cannot rely on the outcome of these charges to support its decision to discharge the grievor - however, adjudicator concluded that grievor's discharge was justified on the basis of the other acts of misconduct which he had committed - although grievor had not destroyed them as he originally claimed, he had removed from the office confidential files that listed informants with a view to depriving others of access to the files - the files were ultimately returned to the employer - nonetheless grievor had no right to attempt to deprive his supervisor of access to these files - furthermore, there was no dispute that while he was suspended grievor made long distance calls over the Government telephone network for purposes which were not work-related and which were not authorized by the employer - similarly, grievor's involvement in a counterfeit investigation in Halifax was not appropriate - the grievor should have advised his employer of the information that he had received from an informant and let his employer deal with the proper authorities at that time - penalty was justified under the circumstances.
Case cited: Cie Minière Québec Cartier v. Québec (Grievance Arbitration) 1995 2 S.C.R. 1095.