Off-duty misconduct

Relevance of employee activities outside of the workplace
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/05/2014

Question: Does an employer have a right or obligation to take action where it becomes aware of an employee’s extreme (and possibly illegal) misconduct outside of work if the misconduct doesn’t have any noticeable effect on the employee’s job?

Answer: The legal rights and obligations of an employer that obtains information about an employee’s off-duty misconduct will depend on the type of behaviour in question, the employee’s position and the nature of the employer’s business.

Generally speaking, what an employee chooses to do outside the workplace is none of the employer’s business. However, an employee’s off-duty conduct may lead to disciplinary action or discharge if it affects the employee’s ability to properly fulfill her duties, negatively impacts the employer’s reputation or otherwise impairs the efficient functioning of the employer’s operations.