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Just Cause

Fabricating reasons for dismissal leads to large damages award

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Bailey v. Service Corporation International (Canada) ULC, 2018 BCSC 235, the BC Supreme Court rejected the employer’s argument that an employee had abandoned his employment, or that alternatively there was just cause for dismissal, when he absented himself for medical reasons for approximately 2.5 months.

The crux of the defendant’s argument was that even after the plaintiff was denied short-term sick leave coverage, he nevertheless continued to absent himself from work while also working full-time as a real estate agent.

The court rejected the claim that the plaintiff was absent without leave, finding that the defendant accepted he was taking unpaid time off work when it sent him an ROE request form and the plaintiff returned it indicating an intention to return to work.

The court also did not accept that the plaintiff had actually been working as a full-time real estate agent. It ultimately found that the defendant had looked for an excuse to dismiss the plaintiff due to his rather aggressive criticisms of management.  read more »

Ethics manager terminated for breach of trust

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In 2015, the BC Court of Appeal issued the decision Roe v. British Columbia Ferry Services Ltd., 2015 BCCA 1, in which it overturned a trial judgment which had found there was no just cause for the termination of a high level manager who handed out food vouchers to his daughter's volleyball team. The court emphasized the responsibilities and trust attached to the plaintiff's senior management position. Shortly thereafter, it issued a split judgement in Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union2015 BCCA 127, upholding the termination of a long-service employee with an unblemished record on the basis of a single incident of breach of trust. The decision rested mainly on the nature of the employee's position, which involved overseeing confidential materials. The recent trial judgment in Manak v.  read more »

Secret recordings of employer found to constitute misconduct

Jurisdiction: - Manitoba
Sector: - Agriculture

IHart v. Parrish& Heimbecker, Limited, 2017 MBQB 68, the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench considered whether an employee's secret recordings of meetings with management constituted misconduct. The court found they were, and framed the recordings as a breach of the employee's duty of confidentiality and privacy obligations. 

Most plaintiff lawyers will agree that secret recordings of meetings are a common occurrence. While there are decisions dealing with the admissiblity of secret recordings for evidentiary purposes, there has been little guidance on the potential use of such recordings by the Employer to establish discipline, including perhaps after-acquired cause.

Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016

Naomi E. Calla, a lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais, has written an article on the Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016.

The cases and her brief summaries are:  read more »