Employer mistakes employee’s storming out as resignation

Passive acceptance of long-time employee’s perceived resignation not enough; employee didn’t intend to quit
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/15/2017

An employee who collects her things and walks out of the office may seem to be quitting her job, but if it’s out of character, following a disagreement, and the employee is a long-term one, it may not be that simple.

Rajinder Johal, 63, was a senior family law clerk for Brampton, Ont.-based law firm Simmons da Silva LLP, hired in 1988. In 2008, she became the primary law clerk for one of the four lawyers in the firm’s family law group. Three years later, she became the lawyer’s only law clerk. Johal had a clean employment record during her entire 27 years with the firm.

In the fall of 2014, one of the firm’s four family law lawyers resigned, followed by a second lawyer in summer 2015. On June 3, the lawyer who was her boss and the firm’s HR manager met with Johal to inform her of changes to the family law group, which included the return of a senior law clerk who had been on parental leave.