Home Arbitration/Labour Relations Toronto company justified in firing carpet thief: Court

Toronto company justified in firing carpet thief: Court

by HR Law Canada

Multy Home, a Toronto-based company that manufactures and sells rugs, was justified in firing a unionized worker who stole two carpets and provided a strange explanation for his actions, the Ontario Divisional Court has ruled.

Caught on camera

Video surveillance caught the worker, SH, removing four rugs from the shipping area at Multy Homes on Sept. 12, 2020, and loading them into the car of his colleague RN, along with the help of other co-workers. SH then drove RN’s car to the far end of the parking lot and transferred two of the rugs to his own vehicle.

RN was interviewed by the company and said he had previously ordered and paid for four rugs. He had received two rugs and on Sept. 12 picked up the following two he had paid for. RN said he approached SH to obtain the remaining two rugs, and SH offered to load them into his car. He told RN he had purchased two rugs himself.

When Multy Homes interviewed SH, he said he loaded the four rugs into RN’s car in accordance with the purchase receipt shown to him by RN.

Based on that information, the employer concluded SH had removed two rugs without authorization and terminated his employment for cause.

SH’s union, the Labourers’ International Union of North America Local 183, grieved the dismissal.

Following termination, and prior to the grievance hearing, SH provided a further explanation for removal of the two carpets: He has a part-time catering business and RN offered to sell him two rugs in return for a catered lunch of Caribbean pork for his family.


RN and SH both gave evidence before the arbitrator. RN contradicted SH’s explanation — and shot down the catering explanation. RN was Hindu and would not have agreed to a meal of pork, nor did he know SH was a caterer.

The arbitrator ruled in favour of the employer. The video showed the theft, and no valid explanation was provided. It did not believe SH.

That ruling was appealed by SH.

The court ruling

The court noted the video clearly showed the theft, and either or both SH and RN was responsible for it.

During Multy Home’s investigation, SH failed to acknowledge he placed two rugs in his own car and did not provide any explanation for doing so.

“This lack of candour was a sufficient basis upon which the (employer) could conclude that (SH) was party to the theft.  Thus, at the time the decision was made to terminate (SH’s) employment for just cause, the (employer’s) decision was reasonable,” the court said.

Put another way, SH’s account events was “far-fetched, implied bizarre and dishonest conduct by another employee (and) failed to explain (his) lack of candour in his initial interview,” the court said.

Multy Home’s case was strong and the explanation of the theft by SH “made little sense,” it said.

“It was not necessary for the (employer) to establish that (SH) was solely responsible for the theft.  It was enough to show that he was complicit in stealing the rugs,” it said.

The arbitrator’s ruling was reasonable and there was no basis for the court to intervene, it ruled.

It awarded costs to Multy Homes of $10,000.

For more information see Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 183 v. Multy Home LP, 2023 ONSC 747 (CanLII)

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