Not giving a hoot about just cause costly for wildlife charity

Employer on the hook for 26 months notice plus aggravated damages for making assumptions about mismanagement without investigating
By David Master
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 12/06/2018

A wildlife charity must pay its former executive director and long-time employee more than $90,000 in lost salary and aggravated damages after it unceremoniously dumped the employee for financial mismanagement without a proper investigation, the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled.

O.W.L. is a charitable society devoted to rescuing and caring for injured raptors — such as owls and eagles — and promoting their return to the wild. Beverly Day, who founded O.W.L. in 1985 and was its longstanding executive director, was dismissed by its board of directors on Oct. 23, 2014, without notice, allegedly for just cause.

O.W.L.’s just-cause dismissal of Day centered on allegations that she misappropriated its funds to pay for the cost of her housing. It also related to Day’s decision to dismiss one O.W.L. employee and inappropriate remarks to another.