Grounds for discipline isn’t necessarily grounds for firing, and checking your facts
Vey Willetts LLP, an Ottawa employment law firm, draws our attention to an interesting case where a supervisor arguably turned herself into an advocate for an employee the employer College didn’t want, rather than act as a supervisor and representative of the College:
“Ontario court overturns just cause dismissal and awards over $97,000 in damages”.
They draw five lessons from the case [Edmond v. Algonquin College, 2018 ONSC 1898 (CanLII)]
“1. Act quickly”.
“2. Ensure consistent treatment of all staff conduct”.
“3. Conduct an objective investigation”.
“4. Get legal advice”.
“5. Ensure that all grounds for cause are asserted and properly pleaded”.
I would add some myself:
6. The employer should not blindly rely on the investigation, but rather ensure that the investigation is accurate: firing on the basis of incorrect data will not be upheld. (In this case, information validating terminating the firing turned out to be gossip, or overstated.)
7. Having a reason to disicpline isn’t the same as having a valid reason to fire. The judge did find that the employee had acted inappropriately, but insisted on a proportionate response.