Worker disputed performance review

Did worker resign or was she dismissed after she disagreed with her performance review?
|Canadian Employment Law Today

This instalment of You Make the Call looks at an employee who left her job with the impression she was being terminated while the employer thought she was quitting. Susan Lelievre, 56, worked in Vancouver, B.C., for Commerce and Industry Insurance Company of Canada. She was promoted in 2001 to sales manager for the Western Region of Canada. In October 2003, her supervisors in Toronto became concerned with her performance and negative attitude. Lelievre’s direct supervisor met with her to discuss these concerns and told her she needed to be more professional.

Her supervisors didn’t see any improvement after the initial meeting and they gave her an oral warning in December 2003. On March 18, 2004, Lelievre was given a formal letter which stated “your performance will be closely monitored on an on-going basis. Failure to improve your performance to acceptable standards will result in further action being taken up to and including the termination of your employment.”

Lelievre strongly disagreed with the warning and sent an e-mail requesting her dismissal with “the appropriate generous severance.” The next day, she sent another e-mail which did not ask for dismissal but still disagreed with the evaluation. Her supervisors sent her a second letter which said the original message was meant to help her improve her performance and they always gave employees a chance for improvement. Lelievre was given a choice to either accept the performance review by March 19, 2004, or, if she disagreed, submit her resignation and receive eight weeks’ severance pay.