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Just Cause

No just cause for dismissal but notice limited to that set out in the Associate Handbook

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

Arasteh v. Best Buy Canada Ltd., 2010 BCSC 48

(Note: In a recent Saskatchewan case - Fox v. Silver Sage Housing Corporation, 2008 SKQB 321 - it was found that an employee was not bound by the termination provisions in a policy manual that had been introduced 13 years after he commenced employment.)

Employee’s refusal to extend Return to Work Agreement, acknowledge alcohol dependency, not just cause

In Taylor v. New Westminster (City) (Vancouver Registry S084283, August 19, 2009), the court found that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who refused to sign an extension to a Return to Work Agreement that required him to acknowledge that he had an alcohol dependency.

Background

At the time of his dismissal, the employee was 54 years old, had 16 years of service and earned a salary of approximately $90,000 per annum. He was Manager of Fleet Services, a safety sensitive position in that he supervised a team of mechanics who performed maintenance and repair work on the employer's various vehicles, including those for the fire and police departments.

Until February 2007, the employee had "an excellent work history" and the employer had "no concerns about his safety in the workplace" (para. 9).

The Incident  read more »

"The Wrongful Dismissal Manual"

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has published "The Wrongful Dismissal Manual" (October 2009), which is "designed to provide employers with guidance on the general statutoryand common law principles applicable whenever an employee's employment is terminated in Canada's four main business jurisdictions: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec."

NBCA upholds dismissal for cause where supervisor repeatedly viewed pornography on work computer

Jurisdiction: - New Brunswick
Sector: - Manufacturing

In Backman v. Maritime Paper Products Limited, a body corporate, 2009 NBCA 6, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal for just cause of a supervisory employee who repeatedly viewed internet pornography on his work computer. In doing so, the court reveiwed the law relating to the doctrine of condonation.

Background

At the time of his dismissal, the supervisory employee had 14 years of service and was earning a salary of $53,000 per year.

The employer had implemented an "Acceptable Use Policy" in 2002 relating to email and internet use. It prohibited the viewing of unprofessional, harassing, offensive or obscene material on company equipment. 

The employee had received written warnings in 2002 and 2003 for accessing pornographic websites. The second warning stated in clear language that any further incidents "will result in the immediate termination of your employment".  read more »

Does an employer have to produce a third-party investigator's report in the course of litigation?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Does an employer have to produce a third-party investigator's report in the course of litigation?

The BC Supreme Court addressed this issue recently in Bank of Montreal v. Tortora, 2009 BCSC 1224, where the defendant former employees brought an application seeking that the Bank of Montreal (the "Bank"):

  1. produce the documents in a third-party investigator's files; and
  2. provide a list of documents over which it claimed privilege that satisfied the requirements of Rule 26(2.1) (i.e., list the documents individually and describe them so that the validity of the privilege claim could be tested).

Background

The Bank dismissed two long-term employees on December 3, 2008 and filed a lawsuit against them on January 6, 2009, claiming that:  read more »

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturns trial judge, allows dismissal for just cause based on incompetence

Jurisdiction: - Saskatchewan
Sector: - Media

In Radio CJVR Ltd. v. Schutte, 2009 SKCA 92, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, in  overturning the trial judge's decision, ruled that the employer had just cause to dismiss an employee who was the program director, music director and on-air morning show co-host for a newly formatted AM station.

In doing so, the court recited the test that will be applied when assessing whether an employer had just cause to dismiss an employee based on incompetence:

  1. the employer must provide reasonable objective standards of performance for the employee in a clear and understandable manner; 
  2. the employee must have failed to meet the employer's reasonable standard of performance;
  3. the employer must give the employee a clear and unequivocal warning that she or he has failed to meet the requisite standard, including particulars of the specific deficiency relied on by the employer; and
  4. the warning must clearly indicate that the employee will be dismissed if he or she fails to meet the requisite standard within a reasonable time.