York University professor fired for benefits fraud

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A labour arbitrator has served notice that employees who commit benefit fraud will have to face the consequences, this in relation to the York University professor who submitted fraudulent claims.

Arbitrator Eli Gedalof has upheld the termination of Diana Spokiene, an associate professor of German studies at York University, for submitting more than 100 false benefit claims totalling more than $8,000. Spokiene submitted claims for paramedical services, including physiotherapy and massage, on behalf of herself and her family. She did so by altering electronic copies of genuine invoices for prior services.

Lawyers and employers alike welcomed the decision, “I breathed a sigh of relief, because this was a case where the arbitrator upheld the dismissal even though the  grievor’s professional career was at stake,” says Ryan Conlin, a partner at Stringer LLP, a Toronto-based management-side labour law firm. “It will certainly help deal with the culture that exists out there that ripping off a benefits plan is not really theft, so that people are doing illegal things and not getting burned.”

Read more at Benefits Canada

This article is summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.