Will MTO officer charged for public masturbation return to his job? We may never find out.

Avatar photo

WELLAND, Ont. — Will a transport enforcement officer with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation who pled guilty for masturbating in the bushes outside a girls’ school actually return to his job?

We may never find out, according to Ken Krupat, a lawyer specializing in employment law and wrongful dismissal cases. Krupat isn’t directly involved in the case of Jeffrey Richard, an MTO enforcement officer who, in January 2010, pled guilty to two counts of committing an indecent act but later won his job back after an Ontario Grievances Settlement Board hearing, at which Richard was represented by the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU).

Krupat has been watching the case closely, however, as it, as Krupat wrote in a blog on the subject, “illustrates the high level of misconduct that unionized employers must demonstrate in order to uphold the dismissal of an employee.”

Last month, arbitrator Loretta Mikus ordered the MTO to reinstate Richard, who worked at the Vineland inspection station as a transport enforcement officer. This despite the fact he admitted to 10 instances of committing indecent acts along the Welland Canal trail system in the area of a girls’ school, was charged with four counts and pled guilty to two. But the most surprising aspect of the decision, according to Krupat, was that he was given his job back despite a relatively short employment history with the MTO.

“What most people who I’ve spoken to find surprising, is where an arbitrator would usually put someone like that back to work would be where the person had a long history of service,” Krupat said in an interview with Trucknews.com. “This guy was only there for a couple of years; that’s really the most surprising thing about it…And mix that with the guy saying he did this (indecent act) 10 other times and just hadn’t been caught, then it seems really surprising that they would reinstate this guy.”

According to Krupat, the MTO must now decide whether to accept Richard back into his role as a transport enforcement officer, or submit an application for judicial review.

“What happens is when there’s a case involving a union and an employer that is unionized, they have an arbitrator who hears the case, an the arbitrator makes the decision, and unlike a court case where if you don’t like the decision you appeal it to the next level, what you have to do is go and apply for judicial review. That means you have to ask a judge to step in and say this decision was totally unreasonable – not just that the arbitrator may have made some kind of mistake, but that this was unreasonable, and that’s the test for the decision,” Krupat explained. “It’s pretty tough to successfully judicially review these decisions, but it happens sometimes.”

Another option for the MTO would be to apply for judicial review, then to settle with the employee before he returns to the job.

“It may never see the light of day,” Krupat said of a final decision on the matter. “It may get settled at some point between the judicial review application being filed and the case actually being heard. They can file the judicial review application and not have agreed to put this guy back to work and then come to an agreement where the Crown says ‘Let’s pay some amount of money to get out of here,’ and nobody would ever hear about it again and the guy wouldn’t have been put back to work.”

If the case does go to judicial review, it could be months before a judge rules on the case. And if the MTO does elect to fight the decision, Krupat said it’s an uphill battle to get it overturned.

“It’s really hard to predict what a judge might do with this,” Krupat said. “Part of the reason for that is, they do tend to give arbitrators pretty wide discretion in actually hearing the person, weighing all the facts, thinking about the discipline compared to the person’s life and whether they think this person can ultimately still contribute as an employee. I think the biggest things that make this surprising are the guy was only there for a relatively short period of time and he stated this happened at least 10 times. So with those things, it does seem surprising the arbitrator reinstated him. But all that being said, all these judicial reviews are quite an uphill battle.”

One thing’s for certain, if it wasn’t for his membership in the union, Richard wouldn’t be returning to work, Krupat added.

“No employee who was fired for this in a non-unionized context would ever get their job back,” he said. “If they were successful they would get a little bit of money, if they were really successful would get a little more money, but a two-year employee would get very little money.”

Avatar photo

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • Does anyone remember when we proudly sported labels and bumper stickers that said ‘UNION MADE”? You don’t see them anymore. Over the past several years, unions have lost much of their bargaining power and moral support among the public. Shutting down garbage collection, blocking highways and sometimes violence does little to engender empathy from regular citizens.

    Now comes a situation where a union member, an officer with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, has pled guilty to masturbating in the bushes outside a girls

  • “An Ontario Transportation Enforcement Officer (TEO) who pleaded guilty to two counts of committing an indecent act after exposing himself to young women, and who has admitted to acting out in anger towards women, has been allowed to resume his job as an enforcement officer.”

    He exhibited a tendancy of acting out in anger towards women. Ok, so now he is supposed to be in Law Enforcement at an inspection station where women truck drivers pass through daily and he works alongside female officers.

    How comfortable are these women going to feel working beside him, let alone have him walk up to their truck at an inspection knowing he could throw a temper fit or charge them with infractions simply because of their gender.

    Even as a male, crossing that scale, I’d be a little leary of this guy.

    I would trust any woman driver that was charged by this guy would take it to court simply on the grounds that he admitted “acting out in anger towards women” and could use it as a defense of a wrongful charge.

    The unions have gone too far on this one.

  • Hey,

    In my reading of the article I was not sure if the MTO officer did this act while working which is the key issue. If he was at work ofcourse he should be fired and no union or private lawyer can get you your job back if you committed a criminal offence while on the job. But while it as much as I sympathise with the desire or the other commentors to never want to have to be around a person who would masturbate naked at a girls school the reality is that you can’t just fire him for what he does on his own time.

    We need to be protected because what if your boss started let you go because he didn’t like your political affiliations or what church you go to. What if you campaigned for a mayor publically and your boss let you go because he can’t be associated with views like that.

    Complete sympathy for MTO and the union being saddled with a mess like that and having to find a way to act appropriately.

  • Edited version!LOL

    So there he is, naked, sneakin’ behind the bushes, clutchin’, wankin’ & showing off his short comings to little girls down by the canal path. Presents quite a visual. Sounds like a totally responsible, capable and sound individual to me…NOT! So, how do you look this guy in the face while he writes you a non-compliance. Wankers. Entertainers with sub-quality equipment. Pathetic. I’d love to give him a reason to be pissed off at women.

  • The union has a thing called “carriage rights” which means any grievor or complaint, no matter how stupid must be supported.

    The employer, the Ontario government, dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.

    I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Grievance Settlement Board. Even though the offences and behaviour occurred off duty they impugn the character of this officer so as to make it impossible for him to do his work. He admitted he is a risk to women (coworkers, truck drivers and the general public). His coworkers don’t want to be in the same room with him. All things the GSB arbitrators admit….yet though he is unemployable they order his continued employment. That is insane!!

    Now, we, the taxpayers have to pay for him to stay home or pay him off to leave!