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progressive discipline

The need for clear warning before dismissal

I have often discussed the need for warnings in the context of summary dismissal. While some situations will justify dismissal based upon a single incident, in many cases our courts and arbitrators will require progressive discipline. Whatever the steps may be, it is critical that the messaging to the subject employee be clear: the conduct or behavior is unacceptable, and further instances will lead to discipline, which can include termination for cause.

 

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This employer’s case had 99 problems – Proving cause was one

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.

 

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Sacking your co-founder

For true entrepreneurs, there is nothing more exhilarating and satisfying than launching your own baby into the economy, nurturing it, and watching it flourish with co-founders, friends, employees and supporters along the way.

Satisfying, that is, until your co-founder starts to slack, develop a different vision, or simply become an energy suck that is destroying the business.  Once the honeymoon start-up phase is over, founders either thrive in the get-down-to-business phase, or get itchy for the next creative start up adventure.  Here are some big-picture tips for handling the post-honeymoon phase.

 

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Even long-term employees with a clean record can be handed a lengthy suspension when it is warranted

A recent Ontario Grievance Settlement Board case highlights the point that, even where employees are long-term and have a clean service record, they can still be subject to serious discipline if the circumstances are right.

 

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Terminated casino dealer twice lucky in court

Mike Majewski’s profane outburst at his co-worker John Maracle was not sufficient cause for termination on its own or as a cumulative event, Ontario’s Small Claims Court recently decided—for the second time.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the 2015 TD1 Ontario Personal Tax Credits Return; a case dealing with a physical altercation between employees; and when an ESA decision just isn’t enough.

 

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What’s cause got to do with it?

At times, employers despair at the perceived narrowing of the requirements of just cause for termination. With many adjudicators focused on progressive discipline, summarily dismissing an employee, even for serious misconduct, requires caution and often a well-researched legal opinion.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the need for explicit warnings before terminating for cause, proving reprisal in employment, and the notice period required when terminating an older employee.

 

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Big brother contestants – rightfully terminated?

The CBS reality show Big Brother recently made headlines when two of its female contestants were fired from their jobs back home due to racist and homophobic comments made towards fellow contestants. Because the contestants have no contact with the outside world while on the show, neither person is aware that they have been fired or that their workplaces have spoken to the media about their terminations.

 

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Unlucky or deserving? An employee’s dismissal was unjust, but reinstatement not appropriate

A small-town bank manager who had an affair with a subordinate—including sex in the bank, during and after hours—should not have been dismissed for cause, according to the Federal Court of Appeal. Nevertheless, given the circumstances, it was not appropriate to reinstate the employee to his job.

 

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No cause for termination without policy and discipline

It seems that employers must continually learn that it is crucial to have clear written policies in place governing employee conduct and discipline, and to apply those policies consistently. An Alberta Employment Standards Umpire recently heard a case that reiterates the simple lesson.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal termination due to theft, The Canada Arbitration Board decision about fraudulent medical notes, and a termination substituted with a suspension.

 

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How to word a policy on progressive discipline

Every organization has disciplinary concerns at some point in time arising from an employee’s actions which are deemed unacceptable to the employer and which may require some form of discipline to be administered. Generally, employees respect the need for discipline and usually appreciate having a disciplinary process that is deemed to be fair and impartial.

 

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Dismissal for threat void where employer relied on outdated discipline

An Ontario labour arbitrator just allowed an employee’s grievance after the employer terminated him for swearing, refusing to leave the workplace and threatening the vice-president with a shovel. As horrible as this incident sounds, the employer had absolutely no proof of the events because the employer did not follow its own policy and conduct a proper investigation.

 

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