Just cause terminations have been considered the ‘capital punishment’ of employment law. The employer bears the evidentiary burden to prove that the alleged misconduct satisfies the high threshold of just cause dismissal. The employer must prove that the act(s) or omission(s) of the employee are so significant that the effect was that the employee repudiated the contract of employment; failure to establish such an effect will preclude a Court from finding that the employment has been terminated for cause.
There are several types of misconduct that may be grounds for dismissal for cause. Examples of common grounds for dismissal, discussed in detail below, include the following:
- dishonesty (e.g. fraud, theft, breach of trust, deception etc.);
- workplace harassment and violence;
- insubordination and insolence; and
- absenteeism and lateness.
A Court will provide a contextual analysis to determine whether, in the totality of circumstances, the misconduct amounts to just cause. In order to satisfy the Court, employers should institute progressive disciplinary and performance improvement plans to provide a guidepost for improvement for the employee. If the employee continues to perform incompetently or engage in ongoing misconduct, the employers paper-trial and diligence will assist in reaching the just cause threshold.
If you have been terminated for cause by your employer, please contact Goldstein Employment Law to discuss your potential rights and entitlements.