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Being Dismissed With Cause in Alberta

Employers in certain cases are allowed to fire employees when they have cause. If Employers can establish cause, they do not have to pay severance or pay-in-lieu of notice. However, courts have said that cause is difficult for employers to prove. So what are the circumstances that the court will say are cause?

The case of Port Arthur Shipbuilding v. Arthurs, 1967 Canlii30 sets out some elements that constitute cause:

If an employee has been guilty of misconduct, habitual neglect of duty, incompetence or conduct incompatible with his duties or prejudicial to the employer’s business, or if he has been guilty of willful disobedience to the employer’s orders in a matter of substance, the law recognizes the employer’s right to summarily dismiss the delinquent employee.

The Court in Molloy v. Epcor2015ABQB356 said the following about cause at paragraph 142:

a) cause is a question of fact; b) the assessment of cause is objective, contextual, and proportionate; c) the assessment of cause entails three steps: i. determining the nature and extent of the alleged misconduct;

ii. considering the surrounding circumstances, including the employment history, the employee's role and responsibilities, the type of business or activity, the policies and practices, and the level of trust reposed in the employee; and

iii. determining if the response to the alleged misconduct is balanced, having regard to the facts; the question is whether the alleged misconduct is so incompatible with the fundamental terms of the employment relationship that it warrants dismissal.

You have been fired and your employer has alleged cause, please feel free to contact us.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.

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