Recently, a Mr. Lube employee tweeted a request for some marijuana to help him get through his shift. This may have gone unnoticed by the media, but it came to the attention of the York Regional Police, who used their Twitter account to respond by asking, “Can we come too?” Presumably, his employers were asking a different question: “Can we fire him?”
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with differential treatment in the workplace, how an employee’s dishonesty and breach of confidentiality during a workplace investigation led to termination for cause and how a settlement was easily characterized as a retiring allowance.
I am frequently asked by employer clients to describe what type of conduct by an employee will be held by the courts to qualify as cause for dismissal. Employers are often frustrated by the answer they receive – that it seems that nothing less than stealing money from the company will suffice. In the case of long time employees without prior instances of misconduct, theft may still be insufficient. A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court has fortunately clarified the circumstances in which courts will find cause for dismissal as a result of dishonesty. What is striking about the decision is the reliance of the judge on a seemingly insignificant act committed by a nineteen year employee.