Employee’s tirade was the last straw

Employee had history of conflict and had last chance agreement prohibiting outbursts
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/01/2012

An Ontario worker’s heated argument with a supervisor was the “last straw” that gave her employer just cause for dismissal, an arbitrator has ruled.

The employee, referred to as Susan X, worked at the Northumberland County Materials Recovery Facility in Cobourg, Ont. Her job was to monitor and sort through materials for recycling along a moving line. Employees at the facility moved around on different assignments with different co-workers as required.

Susan, who started working at the facility in 2002, had a strained relationship with several co-workers. Her ex-husband, from whom she separated in 2009, also worked at the facility. After the separation, management emphasized the need for them to keep personal life and home life separate and they would try to schedule them on separate shifts, but there would be no guarantee that could happen all the time. Since there were only 38 employees at the facility, it was likely they would have to work together at some point.