A worker who was fired because he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for a criminal conviction is not entitled to statutory termination pay, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled.
“Criminal convictions are not protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code in the employment space,” says Christopher Achkar, an employment lawyer and principal at Achkar Law in Toronto. “With no legislative protection of convictions, the employer didn’t want to leave the position open for a year and a half and relied on frustration of employment [as the reason for dismissal].”
The worker joined Dowswell Farms, an Ontario farm, as a seasonal employee in 2011. Each year, he was laid off over the winter and was rehired in the spring. In May 2020, Dowswell promoted him to farm manager on a year-round basis.