Dismissed for florid e-mail

An emotional and inappropriate response to a co-worker’s action did not constitute just cause
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Owen M. O’Neil is an actuary who had been employed with Towers Perrin Inc. from 1989 until 1998. During the course of his employment, Mr. O’Neil had proven to be an excellent employee who received glowing annual evaluations. His problems at Towers Perrin first began in 1996. The problems never related to the quality of his work, rather to his relations with co-workers.

In 1996 Mr. O’Neil was accused of having made comments regarding a colleague, Mr. Samji, which were considered to be unprofessional by his supervisors. As a result of these comments, Towers Perrin decided that Mr. O’Neil must be punished.

His punishment came in the form of a reduction of Mr. O’Neil’s bonus for 1996 by five per cent, which represented a substantial financial penalty. Mr. O’Neil did not agree with the decision to punish him and advocated changes to his punishment without success. After that Mr. O’Neil continued without incident until the events in 1998 which led to the litigation.