By Louis Vittas | Partner | Garfin Zeidenberg LLP
Much has been written regarding adequate notice or paid compensation for the termination of an employee without cause. In fact, it is paramount to seek appropriate advice as a business owner or employee when facing the scenario of ending the employment relationship. But what of the summary dismissal of an employee for just cause? Termination for cause understandably requires a significant onus of proof from the employer’s standpoint. Although its use has been limited to the most serious of consequences, the concept has not altogether been extinguished to terminate the employment relationship summarily when circumstances warrant. For example, in a recent case under the Canada Labour Code, an adjudicator upheld the just cause dismissal of an employee for misconduct that went to the core of the employment relationship and rendered it untenable.
Finding the employee’s behavior amounted to serious, premeditated, and repetitive behavior that was harmful to the employer’s interests, unfair to co-workers, and plainly dishonest, summary dismissal was held to be the appropriate response. Additional factors that likely rejected the employee’s claim that dismissal for cause was extreme, included having admitted to the wrongful acts but taking no responsibility for them, without apology, and trying to lay the blame on others, including the employer. The “trust” in the relationship was irreparably broken. This decision appears to support the notion that while courts appear hesitant to consider factors in support of just cause termination, dishonesty can justify dismissal for cause.
Practice Areas: Civil & Commercial Litigation, Employment Law, Construction Liens, WSIB Claims
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© Louis Vittas, 2021
This item is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Informed legal advice should always be obtained about your specific circumstances.