Dismissal of whistleblower upheld after ultimatum

Employer showed encouragement and gratitude to employee for revealing financial mismanagement, but employee took things too far with demands and refusal to work
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/09/2019

Whistleblowers are getting more protection as jurisdictions realize the importance of getting the truth about businesses and organizations that could affect the public interest. This protection allows those with knowledge of wrongdoing to come forward without fear of reprisals. Having it in place is a good thing for getting to the truth, but it’s also not meant to give employees power over their employers and freedom from just cause dismissal.

A Manitoba worker’s termination of employment was the result of her issuing an ultimatum and walking off the job, not a reprisal for reporting accounting irregularities with her employer, the Manitoba Labour Board has ruled.

Stradbrook Residential Services was a provider of life skills support and training for people with emotional and physical disabilities in Winnipeg for 40 years before it closed in March 2018. In June 2017, Stradbrook hired a worker, referred to as L.C., to perform accounting and bookkeeping duties on a part-time basis. L.C.’s work included payroll, billing, and rent top-ups for clients and it was agreed when she was hired that she would work six to eight hours per week.