An arbitrator appointed under the Canada Labour Code recently ordered the reinstatement of a radio reporter who was discharged for mailing a box of contaminated chocolates to a critic. Soon after sending the chocolates, the employee recognized the impropriety of his actions and warned the potential victim before any harm occurred. He then informed his employer of his actions and was subsequently discharged for gross misconduct.
The arbitrator acknowledged the seriousness of the act as well as its potential harm to the employer’s reputation. However, the fact that the employee took steps to ensure that no harm resulted and that he was unlikely to repeat the conduct, were held to be strong mitigating factors. As a result, the arbitrator substituted a three month suspension for the termination and required the employee to complete anger management training.