Harassment justifies outright dismissal with no termination pay

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Fleming v. Ricoh Canada Inc., 2003 CarswellOnt 5593 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Gerard Fleming was hired by Ricoh Canada to overhaul its underperforming sales department. Relations between some of the male and female staff in the department were characterized as being one of “ribald” humour. Things came to a head in April 2002 when Fleming was fired. Richoh claimed Fleming’s language with his female staff constituted an abuse of authority and sexual harassment and there was no choice but to terminate his employment.

Fleming said he engaged in banter that was mildly sexual and was carried on by many in the department; that his apology for one particularly angry outburst was accepted by a woman who subsequently filed a grievance against him over that episode; and even if Ricoh had just cause to terminate his employment, he was nonetheless entitled to termination pay.