Investigations have become an integral part of HR and employment law, and an employee’s conduct in the course of an investigation can be the difference between summary dismissal and some lesser form of punishment.
As I head to Osgoode Professional Development for module 3 of the course that my partner and I are Directors of, HR Law for HR Professionals, I am contemplating one of the aspects of HR law that has changed significantly in recent years: investigations.
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".