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Judge sets aside dismissal of AC employee for nuts & lotion theft


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B.C. judge sets aside dismissal of Air Canada employee fired for stealing nuts and lotion

Tue Jun 27, 2017 - Vancouver Sun
by Keith Fraser

A judge has set aside the dismissal of an Air Canada employee who was fired for stealing some nuts and hand lotion from an aircraft in Vancouver.

“What are discarded nuts and hand lotion left behind by a first-class passenger on an Air Canada flight worth?” asked B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies in his ruling on the case.

“For Neena Cheema, an employee with Air Canada, they were worth the job she had worked at for 17 years.”

The incident that resulted in Cheema’s termination occurred on Feb. 10, 2016, while she was employed by the airline as a cabin service and cleaning attendant at Vancouver International Airport.

She found and picked up four unopened packages of almonds and a tube of unused hand lotion that had been left behind by a passenger in the first-class section of an aircraft that had arrived at the airport. She put the items in her jacket pocket but did not, as she said she intended to do, put them on the galley counter so that catering workers could determine whether the discarded items could be used again, according to the judge’s summary of the incident.

When she went into the airline’s human resources office to inquire about vacation dates, she reached into her pocket to see what time it was and found the items. She put them on the desk of the human resources employee and told her: “Here are some nuts and lotion for you.”

The human resources employee claimed Cheema also said to her: “I appreciate any help you can do.”

Air Canada investigated the incident and fired her.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 140, the union which represents Cheema, filed a grievance of the termination.

An arbitrator concluded that Cheema had committed theft and had attempted to bribe the human resources employee, and said that the termination was not excessive in all of the circumstances.

In his ruling in the case, the judge found that the arbitrator had failed to address the question of why Cheema’s actions in taking the discarded supplies or using them in open dealings with the human resources employee warranted her termination.

He said the arbitrator also failed to look at why some lesser penalty would not appropriately address her misconduct, especially in light of her 17 years of service with Canada’s largest airline.

“I am satisfied that the arbitrator’s conclusory reasons that the ‘termination was not an excessive response in all of the circumstances’ are not transparent and do not allow Ms. Cheema to know why the termination of her employment was not excessive,” said Davies.

“As such, on the issue of penalty, the arbitrator’s reasons fail the test of reasonableness.”

'She also declined to say whether Neena Cheema is the same Neena Cheema who in April 2013 was handed a lifetime ban from the Vancouver Sun Run for cheating.'




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The whole story seems to change with the 2nd last sentence of the article. 

Question: How are these two things related?  Answer:  They aren't, but we're going to add it anyway because it makes her look bad.

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