Don’t fear ‘administrative’ leave

When used properly, administrative leave can be an important tool for employers when dealing with problem employees
By Tom Gorsky and Leah Simon
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/04/2013

Requiring an employee to take an “administrative” leave can place an employer in a dicey situation. On the one hand, an administrative leave may be necessary where the alternative — allowing the employee to remain in the workplace — would be disruptive or even risky for the business. On the other hand, an administrative leave of indefinite duration can expose an employer to the potential for a constructive dismissal claim.

The truth is, a properly planned administrative leave can be an invaluable tool for an employer. It can provide precious time to conduct a workplace investigation or complete ongoing negotiations while the employee is out of the workplace. To illustrate this point, consider the recent case of Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission.

David Potter was the executive director of the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission. The commission had significant performance issues with Potter, which became more serious when harassment complaints were laid against him. Ultimately, the commission decided to terminate Potter’s employment, which lead to negotiations aimed at securing his voluntary departure in exchange for a severance package.