When a contract spells out what misconduct warrants dismissal

Getting specific on just cause
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/25/2019

Contractual definitions of ‘just cause’

Question: If an employment agreement has specific examples of misconduct that constitute just cause for dismissal, can the employer automatically dismiss the employee without notice if they are guilty of that misconduct?

Answer: Just cause for summary dismissal is normally difficult to prove. In McKinley v. BC Tel, the Supreme Court of Canada described just cause as serious misconduct that gives rise to a breakdown in the employment relationship. Just cause will exist where the employee’s behaviour violated an essential condition of the employment contract, breached the faith inherent in the work relationship, or was fundamentally or directly inconsistent with the employee’s obligations to the employer.