Refusing to take blame costs worker her job

Worker’s termination for refusing to admit mistake proves insubordination and passing the buck can be grounds for dismissal
By Daniel Lublin
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A serious error doesn’t necessarily justify or require discipline. However, refusing to accept blame for that error can cost an employee his or her job. Martha McGachie’s employment was characterized by a series of errors. When the mistakes mounted, she finally wore out her welcome at the Victoria, B.C., Immigrant & Refugee Centre.

An employment counsellor at the centre for nearly five years, McGachie drew the ire of her supervisor by disagreeing with him about how she should perform her job. At first, McGachie’s probationary period was extended. Following other mistakes her supervisor characterized as “serious”, she was warned further errors would result in her losing her job.

The final straw for the centre occurred when McGachie sent a document to the government agency funding its operations. She did so without first seeking approval by her supervisor, which she knew was standard policy. When the government agency reviewed the document, it realized the centre was providing services to some clients who were ineligible for funding. The agency then clarified its policy and the centre was left unable to service a number of clients that would have received support but for McGachie’s mistake.