The disciplinary tools available to employers in Canada are limited, which causes substantial frustration.

On the one hand, courts often say that summary dismissal is too harsh and disproportionate to the egregiousness of the situation, but on the other hand, courts also say that employers generally do not have the right to suspend or demote employees. So what is an employer to do when faced with misconduct that does not warrant dismissal?

We work with our clients to develop strategic options. This starts with the contracts and policies, which can expand their rights beyond the default at law. Unfortunately, many organizations adopt policies without any strategic consideration. For example, a significant number of discipline policies require progressive discipline without allowing any discretion to ensure that “the punishment fits the crime”. If your policy says that any first offence will result in a verbal warning, then you will be in breach of your own policy if you fire someone for assaulting the owner.

We will help you establish effective policies and procedures. When issues arise, we will help you to assess whether discipline is warranted and, if so, how it can be implemented strategically while minimizing potential liability.