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Category Archives: Discipline

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Employee’s secret recording of meetings with management contributes to finding of just cause for dismissal

Posted in Discipline, Employee Obligations, Just Cause, Litigation, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

A recent decision from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench supports that an employee’s use of his work phone to secretly record meetings with management may support an employer’s decision to terminate for just cause.

In Hart v. Parrish & Heimbecker, Limited [Hart], the plaintiff, Mark Hart, sued his former employer for wrongful dismissal after he was terminated for cause following a series of employee complaints against him. In the course of the litigation, Mr. Hart tendered as evidence recordings of conversations he had had with the defendant’s management personnel in the course of the defendant’s investigation into … Continue Reading

Context is Key: New Trial for Dismissed CIBC Employee

Posted in Discipline, Employee Obligations, Investigations, Litigation, Termination

Previously, we posted here on the case of the CIBC employee who had been dismissed for using her personal account to complete a wire transfer for a client in Ogden v CIBC. The initial trial decided only that Ms. Ogden had been wrongfully dismissed and the heads of damages. The trial judge found that CIBC had conducted a flawed investigation of Ms. Ogden’s conduct and there was a lack of clarity, training and consistency in its policies and procedures.

In a decision handed down April 27, 2015, the BC Court of Appeal ordered a new trial. In particular, the Continue Reading

From the Desk of the HR Manager: Spring Cleaning – Performing an HR Audit

Posted in Discipline, Employment Standards, Litigation, Occupational Health and Safety, Privacy, Termination, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation, WorkSafeBC

Our colleagues in Ontario recently posted a very useful outline of an HR audit that will help BC employers ensure they stay up-to-date and on top of the wide variety of employment-related demands in their operations. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.… Continue Reading

Breach of Confidentiality May be Cause

Credit Union's Clear Policy Helpful

Posted in Discipline, Just Cause, Privacy, Termination

If an employee views a confidential file contrary to clear and reasonable policy, she can be fired for cause.  That was the judgment of the BC Supreme Court in Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union  2013 BCSC 527.

 The Plaintiff, Ms. Steel, was a help desk analyst in the IT department of the Defendant Coast Capital Savings.  In her job, she was able to access any document or file in the organization.  Her work was mostly unsupervised.

Included in her job description and protocols relating to document access were clear statements requiring that privacy of staff information be … Continue Reading

Terminating Employees on Disability

Truly Shark Infested Waters

Posted in Discipline, Just Cause, Termination, Wrongful Dismissal

The media is full of the story of a couple from Wales who were fired from their jobs after the husband helped save children from a shark attack.

It seems that the husband’s heroics generated a media stir at the time, which led to the employer back in Wales finding out the couple were vacationing in Australia when they were supposed to be on disability leave.  The employer decided to terminate their employment, thus generating the current media storm.

It is possible, even likely, that there is more to the story than is currently being told, but the employer’s reported … Continue Reading

“Workplace Investigations – Part 3”

Posted in Discipline, Discrimination, Human Rights, Investigations, Just Cause, Termination, Workers Compensation, Wrongful Dismissal

In earlier posts, here and here, we discussed some legal issues that arise in workplace investigations. In this post, we will discuss some of the privacy issues that can arise.

The investigator is often asked by nervous employees whether their identity and the information they give will be kept confidential. This cannot be guaranteed.  Employees being interviewed should be made to understand that the information they give may be disclosed, in whole or in part, to other parties in an investigation as necessary.

It may not be necessary to share the identity of witnesses with other parties when, for … Continue Reading

Workplace Investigations – Part 2

Posted in Damages, Discipline, Human Rights, Investigations, Just Cause, Termination, Workers Compensation, Wrongful Dismissal

In an earlier post, we discussed when employers may wish to conduct workplace investigations.  In this post we’ll discuss who should conduct the investigation.

Being lawyers, we usually have a quick answer to this:  legal counsel. We recognize, however, that clients don’t have unlimited funds.  So practically speaking, each situation will have to be assessed on its own facts.

In situations where a simple fact finding determination and assessment of credibility are all that is needed, the skilled manager can suffice, with counsel in the background to point them in the right direction and give legal advice based on any … Continue Reading

Trends in Human Rights

Posted in Discipline, Discrimination, Human Rights, Termination

I recently had the opportunity to present a paper summarizing significant human rights decisions of 2012 at the annual BC Continuing Legal Education conference on human rights law.  The conference was very well organized and featured a number of excellent topics and speakers.

In considering the case summaries I reviewed at the conference, I have the following thoughts about the state of human rights in British Columbia:

1.  What is considered a human right and the kinds of activity that draw human rights protection seems ever expanding, including:

(a) persons with mild and temporary ailments and illnesses are considered disabled … Continue Reading

Murphy’s Laws of HR

Union Terminations

Posted in Discipline, Labour Relations, Murphy's Laws of HR, Termination, Unions

It’s time for another instalment in Murphy’s Laws of HR.

The first two laws were posted some time ago.  #3 is posted in sympathy for those dealing with unionized employees, and to remind those with only non-union employees to count their blessings.

Murphy’s Laws of HR #3 – The union always grieves a termination:

even when the other union members say “It’s about time”; and

especially after convincing you to terminate.

 … Continue Reading

Month in Review

Posted in Accommodation, Age, Benefits, Compensation, Pensions, Damages, Discipline, Discrimination, Employee Obligations, Employment Standards, Family Status, Human Capital, Human Rights, Immigration, Investigations, Just Cause, Labour Relations, Litigation, Murphy's Laws of HR, Privacy, Recruiting, Termination, Unions, US vs.Canadian Employment Law, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation, Wrongful Dismissal

The bloggers of BC Employer Advisor issued our first Month in Review to summarize our most recent posts.

Visit the summary here.

 … Continue Reading

Claim for Damages for Breach of Privacy

Posted in Discipline, Family Status, Litigation, Privacy

The Ontario Court of Appeal has created a new cause of action.  It is now possible to sue for damages for a breach of privacy.

Tsige and Jones were employees at different branches of the Bank of Montreal.  They did not know each other, but Tsige had a relationship with Jones’s ex-husband.

Tsige looked at Jones’s bank records 174 times over a four year period to see if the ex-husband was paying child support. She was able to see Jones’s bank transaction details, date of birth, marital status and address.  She did not disclose or record the information. There was … Continue Reading