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after acquired cause

The fork in the road: after-acquired cause for dismissal

In Canada, employers can dismiss employees in one of two ways: with cause or without cause. If an employer dismisses an employee without cause, and then later discovers that they had been stealing from the company for years, can they now allege just cause for dismissal?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with retiring allowance and vesting of pension benefits; after-acquired cause to justify termination; and workplace drug test.

 

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Employers may be able to rely upon after-acquired cause

Although I have been known to reassure employers that “just cause is not a lost cause”, it is fair to say that the threshold for establishing that summary dismissal is warranted is a difficult one to meet in most circumstances. One question that often arises is what an employer is to do when they only learned of reasons for dismissal after the dismissal has already taken place. This can occur in situations where an employee was dismissed on a without cause basis, or in situations where the termination was for cause. Either way, the issue is what an employer can do with subsequently obtained information, which is typically referred to as “after-acquired cause”.

 

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Does an employee have the common law right to procedural fairness in the manner of their termination

It is assumed by most H.R. professionals that employees are entitled to procedural fairness and, in particular, to be advised as to the reasons for dismissal from employment. In fact, there is no such right in private companies. Employees in private companies (i.e. non-governmental entities) have no common law right of procedural fairness in the manner of their termination, whether the termination is for cause or not. Similarly, employees have no legal right to an opportunity to respond to the alleged reasons for dismissal.

 

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