A recent BC Supreme Court decision finding a fast food employee was wrongfully dismissed and entitled to aggravated damages has been making newspaper headlines across the country. Ms. Ram had worked as a cook in various Burger King locations for 24 years, and was terminated for just cause after taking home a fish sandwich, fries and a drink at the end of her shift without paying for them. Ms. Ram’s claim was heard over a seven day trial, resulting in a lengthy decision.
The Court acknowledged that an employer may allege just cause, and later abandon that claim at any time. The Court held that it wouldn’t be appropriate to penalize an employer for changing its mind if it initially had a reasonable basis to believe it had just cause to terminate an employee. As such, it is important to investigate and document any evidence of employee misconduct, and to act accordingly.
Generally, it is very difficult for an employer to prove it has just cause. In a recent decision, however, Ontario’s highest court found that a teacher’s misconduct was serious enough to warrant a just cause termination. This article discusses this case and the kind of evidence an employer must lead to prove a just cause dismissal.
Huge wrongful dismissal damage award overruled by Ontario Court of Appeal on basis of misapplication of law of just cause dismissal
A 62 year old Mississauga teacher with 10 years of service experienced the joy of winning a huge damage award in the face of allegations of just cause at trial only to have the trial decision squarely overruled by a majority of the Ontario Court of Appeal with significant cost consequences to account for. While the Ontario Court of Appeal often gives Trial Judges significant deference in their decisions, the Court of Appeal found that the Trial Judge misapplied the facts to the proper law on just cause dismissal and overruled the entire decision and awarded the employer significant costs on both the trial and appeal.
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: A case that applies a three-part test to determine just cause; a case that provides a reminder that both employers and employees are required to give reasonable notice of termination at the conclusion of an employment relationship; and a case where an employee failed to provide sufficient medical evidence supporting her absences, therefore her termination was deemed justified.
Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with three cases: One case looks at the “suitability test” to establish whether the employer acted in good faith; the second case looks at constructive dismissal; and the third case addresses the question of whether employers can terminate disobedient employees for cause.
A recent case out of Calgary, Karmel v. Calgary Jewish Academy, presents some valuable lessons for Alberta employers. This case involves a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by a terminated School Principal, Mr. Karmel, who was alleged to have been disobedient.
In the past three years there have been a number of cases arising from the Ontario courts considering whether or not termination clauses which purport to rebut the implied presumption of common law notice and limit an employee’s entitlements upon termination are enforceable. The enforceability of such clauses can have significant consequences on the quantum of an individual’s damages because an employee’s common law entitlements typically exceed his/her minimum entitlements under the applicable minimum standards legislation. The Ontario Division Court recently considered the enforceability of a termination clause in the federal sector in Luney v. Day Ross Inc., 2015 ONSC 1440.
Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with frustration of contract due to illness; duty to make your employment practices accessible; and employee termination for cause due to theft.
Most people have received (or sent) a “pocket-dial”, which is an unintentional cell phone call that is made by a phone when it is in a person’s pocket. In a recent decision from Alberta, an employee’s pocket-dial revealed that he was performing work for his own personal business on company time, leading to his dismissal for cause.
As any follower of Canadian employment law already knows, there are many grey areas and very few “black-and-white” rules. One of the greyer areas is summary dismissal; evaluating when an employer has just cause to terminate the employment relationship is fraught with uncertainty. Contrary to popular belief, there are no absolute rules and there are no types of misconduct that will guarantee the existence of just cause for dismissal.
In a decision handed down April 27, 2015, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ordered a new trial. In particular, the court found that the trial judge had misapprehended the evidence and CIBC’s legal arguments, such that the trial judge’s overall conclusion could not stand.
A legal aid lawyer in Newfoundland and Labrador knew his rights when he was suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into alleged negligence, incompetence and dishonesty…
In Nova Scotia, employees with ten years of service are provided with special protections under the Labour Standards Code. Section 71 of the Code provides that, subject to certain exceptions, an employer can only dismiss an employee with ten years of service or more for just cause. This is called the tenured employee rule.
A recent arbitrator’s decision concerned the enforceability of a pre-treatment agreement allowing an employer to terminate a unionized employee if he failed to abstain from the consumption of alcohol.