Canadian Labour Reporter

April 10, 2017

Canadian Labour Reporter is the trusted source of information for labour relations professionals. Published weekly, it features news, details on collective agreements and arbitration summaries to help you stay on top of the changing landscape.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 7

7 Canadian HR Reporter, a Thomson Reuters business 2017 CANADIAN LABOUR REPORTER NEWS social, and emotional issues. In an attempt to get the student on the right track, the school board entered him into a program with academic and behavioural sup- port from a child and youth work- er employed by the school board. Lakhani claimed to be aware the student had some issues, but didn't know he had been disci- plined or anything about his cir- cumstances. In December 2012, Lakhani met the student in the boys' wash- room, where the student told him he had "a big lineup of stuff." Lakhani commented on a pair of headphones and the student told him he could get "anything you want at a cheap rate." The student later testified Lakhani gave him a list of things he wanted a few days later. According to the student, he sought out Lakhani on Jan. 15, 2013, with items to sell from "his uncle's warehouse" and Lakhani took him to the science storage room, where Lakhani looked at items and purchased a shirt and a pair of shorts for $70 and he gave the student two lighters the teach- er took from the supply cupboard. They left the room together and met another teacher in the hall- way. Lakhani showed the teacher the clothes he had bought. They went back to the science storage room, where the student showed more goods. The teacher looked but left without buying anything. The next day, Lakhani met with the student again in the science storage room to view more cloth- ing and brought along another teacher. Neither teacher bought anything. The day after that, the student found Lakhani while he was pre- paring for a class and said he could exchange a shirt he had bought for a different size. He also had a pair of jeans for the other teacher. They went into the science stor- age room and Lakhani exchanged the shirt and bought more items. On Jan. 15 and 16, 2013, care- takers at the high school found broken retail security tags in a boys' washroom. Meanwhile, the child and youth worker who was working with the troubled student notified the principal that the stu- dent was selling stolen clothes at the school and Lakhani had pur- chased some from him. The child and youth worker also said she had learned Lakhani had given the student a list of items to obtain for him. School administrators began an investigation, as did the po- lice. Lakhani was placed on a paid leave of absence during the school investigation and police charged him with possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000. The school board then suspended its investigation while it observed how the criminal case proceeded. An investigative meeting was scheduled for early May, where Lakhani told school administra- tors that he first learned of the student's clothing sales on Jan. 14, 2013, when he approached a group of boys. He said he was told Lakhani was selling clothing from his father's business and had no reason to believe he was lying. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary and he thought he would be helping out the student and his family, though he also said he had no knowledge that the student's family was struggling financially. Lakhani denied seeing any se- curity or price tags on the items, but the student told the inves- tigators and police he left tags on some of the items and when Lakhani saw one, he looked at him and grinned. Lakhani also denied giving the student lighters as part of the payment, but acknowl- edged he kept a personal supply in the supply cupboard. After the meeting, the school board superintendent provided him with a letter indicating he was recommending termination of his employment because he abused his role as a teacher in purchas- ing stolen goods from a student, encouraged other teachers to view and purchase stolen goods, and misappropriated board supplies to pay for the stolen goods. Lakhani was terminated effec- tive June 4, 2013. The criminal charges were withdrawn. Teacher likely knew items were stolen: Arbitrator Arbitrator Kelly Waddingham found there was no evidence the student actually told Lakhani the goods were stolen, though there were reasons to be suspicious. In addition, the arbitrator found it was likely Lakhani saw a security tag on an item of cloth- ing. Caretakers found several tags in the same washroom where Lakhani first met with the stu- dent, as well as in the science stor- age room. "The most credible and con- vincing evidence presented at the hearing leads me to conclude that Lakhani knew that the goods (the student) was selling were stolen," said Waddingham. However, Waddingham found Lakhani's introduction of the stu- dent to two other teachers didn't constitute encouragement to view or purchase stolen goods, par- ticularly since the second teacher asked to be introduced and stated Lakhani didn't influence his deci- sion to buy. The arbitrator also found it was unlikely Lakhani purchased a sup- ply of lighters for the science room supply cupboard to be used for experiments out of his own funds and they were likely school board property. Waddingham determined that Lakhani knowingly purchased stolen goods from a student and took school board property to help pay for them. This was a breach of his duty under the On- tario Education Act. "Lakhani as a teacher, indeed as an adult with his degree of knowledge and experience in the community, should have tried to discourage (the student) from such activity and helped him to find a more positive path," said Waddingham. "Lakhani's actions therefore not only breached the trust relationship of the school board, it also breached the trust relationship with this student that is essential to his role as a teacher." For more information see: • York Region District School Board and OSSTF, District 16 (Lakhani), Re, 2016 Carswel- lOnt 19244 (Ont. Arb.). < Teacher pg. 1 Educator failed to 'discourage (student) from such activity' Photo: Fotosenmeer (Shutterstock)

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Labour Reporter - April 10, 2017