How Tim Hortons' Free Coffee For Law Enforcement Policy Led To A Lawsuit

The Tim Hortons policy to give free coffee to law enforcement seems innocent enough, right? In reality, however, the policy might not be as innocent as it seems at first glance. At least, that's what two former Tim Hortons employees claimed in a lawsuit that lasted nearly a decade.

As The Globe and Mail reported in 2006, a Tim Hortons manager accused two, long-time Tim Hortons employees of theft in 1999, saying he had a videotape to back up his claims. While the employees were accused and fired, however, their cases were both dismissed for lack of evidence and "reasonable prospect." But the employees weren't ready to let things go. They filed a lawsuit in 2000 saying that they were actually fired because the Tim Hortons owner did not want to pay one of the two employees' paid maternity leave, as the individual was seven months pregnant when they were fired. The employees also claimed that, when investigating the case, police sided with the owner because they felt they, in essence, "owed" the owner for all that free coffee.

Did Tim Hortons bribe police officers with free coffee?

We know what you're thinking. Free coffee? If these officers were really going to put their jobs (and justice) on the line, wouldn't they at least try to get some donuts, too?

Donuts or no donuts, a jury ruled the Tim Hortons policy just as innocent as it seems and decided that no bribery took place in the case of the two employees and their alleged unjustified firings. But, even after the 23-day trial that found the Tim Hortons owner free and clear, one of the two fired employees still wouldn't accept the verdict and, in 2008, she appealed for a new, $10 million trial, an appeal which was dismissed, according to a Times Colonist article. Unfortunately, by the time all was said done, the lawsuit had cost the Tim Hortons franchise owner and police defenders more than $283,000 in legal fees, said an article published by The Toronto Star.