If an employee is dismissed for cause, then they are not entitled to any notice or termination pay at all (other than the nominal amount that may be required by statute in some cases). Understandably, the threshold for establishing just cause for dismissal is high.
Employers who act hastily, without proper investigation and consideration, expose themselves to substantial liability. Our courts have made it quite clear that when considering dismissal, an employer must consider not only the incident or misconduct in question, but all relevant factors. This can include anything from the employee’s employment history to mitigating factors such as addiction. In some cases, two employees that are guilty of the same offence will receive different levels of punishment. And employers that get this wrong can end up spending a lot more than they would have if they had simply packaged the employee out.
How We Can Help
Stuart has spent years studying the law of dismissal for cause, and has literally written the book on the subject. He knows that courts are often reluctant to find that just cause for dismissal exists, as the consequences for the employee are so harsh. After all, some Judges have referred to summary dismissal as the “capital punishment of employment law”.
As Stuart often says, however, “just cause is not a lost cause”; courts and arbitrators will uphold a summary dismissal where the circumstances warrant it. In the course of updating his book, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, twice every year, he reviews every just cause case in Canada. As a result, he knows what Judges are looking for.
Proper strategy begins long before you dismiss an employee. Our team will assist you in addressing suspected misconduct or poor performance. We can help you assess the need for investigation and the appropriate disciplinary or other response. If dismissal is appropriate, we will help assess if just cause exists and then work with you to develop a strategic approach.
We want to be your Trusted Advisor, your Chief HR Law Officer, your business partner. Let us be part of your team, so that we can look after your employment law issues, and you can focus on your business.