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When Can an Employer terminate an Employee for cause in Alberta?

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

An indefinite contract of employment has the implied term that if the employer ends it without cause, the employer will either give the employee a long enough period of notice (called working notice) or pay them in lieu of notice.


Dismissing an employee with cause


Sometimes an employer believes it has “cause” to dismiss the employee. The case of Port Arthur Shipbuilding v. Arthurs, 1967 Canlii30 sets out what is required to establish this:

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.


What to do when your dismissed with cause


When an employer alleges cause, they have the obligation to prove on the balance of probabilities that they, in fact do have cause. Practically this can be difficult for employers to do and there are numerous cases where employers have been unsuccessful in establishing cause. Often it can be simpler to pay an employee out rather than go through the process of building a case for cause.

If you are an employee and you have been dismissed and your employer has alleged cause against you or if you are an employer who wishes to terminate an employee for cause, please contact Floden Ward today.





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