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If an employee’s employment is terminated “for cause”, the employer has the right to avoid providing “reasonable notice”.

Is there anything I can do? Yes! It is very difficult for an employer to prove termination for cause. Employers need to specifically prove that it is fair and proportionate in the circumstances to deny an employee compensation for termination of employment. While there are many more examples, the following are the kinds of conduct that employers have identified as grounds for terminating “for cause”:

  • Fraud or theft;
  • Intentional violation of any law or regulation;
  • Harassing or abusive towards other employees, clients or customers;
  • Continuous failure to perform duties owed to the company (although this generally requires consistent and careful follow up by the employer to try to rectify the poor performance); and
  • Certain off-duty misconduct.

While the ultimate decision of whether a termination for cause is appropriate in any specific circumstances would be for a judge to decide, more often than not employees have a good chance of successfully fighting against termination for cause and receiving compensation.

It should be noted that an allegation of cause may not remove an employee’s entitlement to any termination pay or severance. Under the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), an employee is still entitled to receive termination pay and severance pay (if applicable), pursuant to the ESA, unless the employee is guilty of wilful misconduct, disobedience or wilful neglect of duty that is not trivial and has not been condoned by the employer.

If you do believe that you have been wrongfully dismissed and your employer has alleged the dismissal was for cause, we strongly recommend that you seek employment law counsel promptly to review your rights and entitlements. If you believe your employer cannot prove termination for cause and are seeking legal advice, please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email to mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.

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