Appropriate for Board to Rely on Offences Committed Twenty Years Earlier

The Grievor, a bus driver/custodian, pleaded guilty to sexual offences involving minors twenty years ago and was convicted. One of the terms of his sentence prohibited him from seeking or maintaining employment that would put him in contact with children under the age of sixteen for a four-year period. The events giving rise to the conviction occurred before the Grievor began employment with the school board, but following his conviction, the Grievor was fired. In pursuing its grievance, the union argued that the Grievor should be retained in employment and assigned duties, which did not involve contact with students. The arbitrator concluded – without any direct evidence – that retaining the Grievor in employment would be seen negatively by the public and, more importantly, by the parents of children in the school district. In weighing this against the Grievor’s fifteen years of discipline-free employment, the arbitrator was unable to conclude there was no risk of future harm to the students and concluded, therefore, that the employment relationship could not be salvaged. The grievance was dismissed.

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