It’s not impossible to fire employees

Employers and employment lawyers often comment on how difficult it is to prove just cause. They bemoan the fact seemingly egregious behaviour is found not to be sufficient to warrant immediate dismissal. But recent cases show the concept of just cause continues to exist and will be applied where the court considers it to be appropriate
By Stuart Rudner
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Employers and employment lawyers often comment on how difficult it is to prove just cause. They bemoan the fact seemingly egregious behaviour is found not to be sufficient to warrant immediate dismissal. Particularly since the Supreme Court of Canada decision in McKinley and the widespread adoption of the “proportionality test” in assessing the appropriateness of dismissal, there is a common perception that it is virtually impossible to dismiss someone for cause. However, recent cases show the concept of just cause continues to exist in Canadian employment law and will be applied where the court considers it to be appropriate.

Human resources professionals, and anyone else involved in the discipline and dismissal process, should keep on top of the law as it evolves in this area. It is instructive to monitor court decisions where employers have alleged just cause in order to understand how the law is being applied, and what the threshold is. Since there are no hard and fast rules, the best we can do is compare a particular set of circumstances to previous court decisions. For that reason, I attempt to regularly review recent decisions of note in this area.

Below is another sampling of just cause decisions.