Domestic Violence Charge ≠ Just Cause to Fire Police Officer
Although criminal charges were withdrawn, the Toronto Police Services fired a parking enforcement officer after she was charged with domestic violence. No dice, said the arbitrator. Off-duty conduct can be just cause to terminate even if the employee isn’t criminally convicted. This is especially true when the employee is a police officer. But the police report showed that the officer wasn’t to blame for the incident—she didn’t initiate the violence but engaged only in self-defence after being attacked by her former partner. Returning to the scene and engaging her in a shouting match in the hallway didn’t help the officer’s cause; nor did her prior discipline for drinking. Still, none of this made it necessary for the Police to terminate the officer to save its public reputation, the arbitrator reasoned in ordering her reinstated [Toronto Police Services Board v Toronto Police Association, 2019 CanLII 20797 (ON LA), March 15, 2019].