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.
I am often asked what it takes to prove that summary dismissal is warranted. Can a single incident of misconduct be sufficient? What about a series of less serious incidents?
In the course of updating my text, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, I review every single court and arbitrator’s decision dealing with just cause for dismissal. Not surprisingly, these can be pretty entertaining. However, the cases also confirm a few truths: