Probation wording costs employer

Long-time employee wins constructive dismissal case after being placed on probation; court says employer’s intent wasn’t clear
By Todd Humber
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Placing an employee on probation does not constitute constructive dismissal — it’s a legitimate method of notifying an employee of performance concerns. But a recent Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling shows the conditions an employer attaches to the probation can lead to a finding of constructive dismissal.

Neil Chambers, 45, started working for Atlantic Netcom Ltd. in 1987 and continued with its successor company, Axia Netmedia Corp. (conducting business as “Netricom”) after it had acquired the shares of Atlantic in May 1999.

Chambers held various positions with the two companies, his last as manager of customer service/project manager. Netricom is a high-tech firm, with its primary business being the designing, installation and management of communication networks including the provision of computer and communication cabling, hardware and related services.