University of Saskatchewan cleaner gets to keep job after stealing cleaning rags worth $5

Photo: Oliver Hale

The University of Saskatchewan has lost an appeal in the case of a worker it fired for stealing 10 cleaning rags worth about $5.

The university fired Jerry Julimon, a cleaning staff employee, after it determined he was responsible for the theft. The termination was grieved by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and it won the case – the arbitrator substituted the termination with a six-month suspension.

The arbitrator also ordered that Julimon’s suspension would remain on his record indefinitely.

The university appealed that ruling, arguing the arbitrator erred and his decision was unreasonable.

In short, the university said there was evidence of additional thefts that made continued employment impossible – including an alleged admission that Julimon and other staff would sometimes take garbage bags to use as raincoats without asking permission and on some cases took cardboard boxes.

But the court found the arbitrator considered relevant evidence in making his decision in this case.

The court also rejected an argument from the university that the arbitrator placed “unwarranted emphasis on the value of the property stolen” and failed to consider the gravity of the misconduct.

It dismissed the university’s application to have the ruling quashed and awarded the union and Julimon costs against the university at the column 2 level.

For more information see University of Saskatchewan v Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1975, 2022 SKQB 49 (CanLII)