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Just Cause

Senior employee's refusal to submit budget with head office's desired profit projections not cause for dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Adams v. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., 2009 BCSC 681, the BC Supreme Court found that the employer did not have cause to dismiss a senior employee because of her refusal to prepare an annual budget that that included the employer's desired profit projections.

In doing so, the court reviewed the law on insubordination, and when it can amount to cause for dismissal in light of the "contextual approach" that was mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada in McKinley v. BC Tel, 2001 SCC 38.

Background

The plaintiff was the General Manager of a hotel that was part of a luxury chain. At the time her employment was terminated she was 41, had 12 years of service and was earning approximately $150,000 per year (exclusive of bonuses and benefits).

The hotel chain's corporate office (the "employer") alleged that it had cause to dismiss the plaintiff for insubordination because:  read more »

Contextual factors to consider when assessing whether employer has just cause to dismiss an employee

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

A new test for dismissing an employee for just cause was established by the Supreme Court of Canada in McKinley v B.C Tel, 2001 SCC 38. In that case the Court stated that, among other things, employers must undertake a contextual analysis of ths misconduct.

In a recent case - Corso v. Nebs Business Products Limited, [2009] O.J. No. 1092
(Ont.S.C.J.)  - the Ontario Superior Court set out a useful checklist of the contextual factors that should be considered.

The case concerned the dismissal of an employee who, in the face of a detailed Conflict of Interest policy, covertly developed a computer program product that would be detrimental to the employer's core business.

The checklist is as follows:  read more »

Sexual harassment at Christmas party and dishonesty during investigation lead to senior employee's dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The plaintiff's employment with Marriot Hotels of Canada Ltd. was terminated for cause on February 1, 2007. He was 46 years old, had been employed by the hotel for 22 years and held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing.

Prior to the incidents in question, the plaintiff's employment record was free of any discipline.

The defendant hotel alleged cause for dismissal based on the fact that the plaintiff:

  • Was a senior manager with responsibilities for supervising the company holiday party, permitted the excessive consumption of alcohol, engaged in sexually suggestive dancing, and condoned an "after-party" where Marriott employees drank heavily;
  • Engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with a female subordinate in the bathroom at the after-party; and
  • Was dishonest when he denied the sexual touching allegation during the defendant's investigation of his misconduct.

Distribution of drink tickets, alcohol consumption and suggestive dancing

In relation to these allegations, the court found that:  read more »

Discharge upheld where employee with gambling addiction stole $1,600 from co-worker

Jurisdiction: - Nova Scotia

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 40N and Farmer's Cooperative Dairy Ltd. January 11, 2009 (Christie) (Nova Scotia)

"Executive Employment Terminations"

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

Lawyers Brian Thiessen and Scott Sweatman, at the Calgary office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, have written a paper on "Executive Employment Terminations" (May 28, 2008). The paper focuses on issues pertaining to: (1) Stock Options; (2) Bonuses; and (3) Pension Entitlements.

"Attendance Management Guide"

Law firm Hicks Morley has published a comprehensive "Attendance Management Guide" that addresses the range of legal issues an employer must consider/address when managing attendance problems. 

"Rules & Principles Governing Dismissals in Québec"

Jurisdiction: - Quebec

Quebec lawyer Alain P. Lecours has written an overview of the "Rules & Principles Governing Dismissals in Québec" (May 2007).