Sheila had been employed for one year as an occupational therapist when she let her mouth get away with her. She was talking to a newly hired social worker at the clinic where she was employed and used some harsh words in expressing her surprise over the hiring of that social worker.
A woman we will call Betty worked as an assistant Band registrar for a Band Council. She had that job for 19 years before she was terminated.
Terminating somebody’s employment for dishonesty is a very serious step. Making that allegation carelessly unfairly takes away someone’s livelihood and can also affect their reputation. If they can’t prove your case, the consequences to the employer can be quite expensive.
For terminated non-union employees, just cause is an important issue. It has nothing to do with whether the employer is allowed to fire you…they don’t need a good reason, or any reason at all. It is key, however, to whether or not the employee gets a severance package.
Lawyers are, among other things, professional letter writers. We often use rhetoric as a tool to get what we want on behalf of clients. A lawyer we will call Jane used some of those rhetorical skills in a letter to her boss and got herself fired. Putting your thoughts down on paper for the boss does add impact and punch. For that reason you should always think twice about the words you choose.
When it comes to the clarity of a resignation or a termination, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Employers who claim that an employee has resigned need clear evidence. Employees who claim they have been terminated need it as well.
On the one hand, technological advances have significantly increased productivity, efficiency and profit in the workplace. Clear and immediate communication has made everything happen faster. For employers, technological advances have truly been a rose. But every rose, as they say, has its thorn. Estimates about how much time and profit are being lost in Canadian workplaces as a result of employee access to the internet at work are stunning.
If an employer wants to avoid paying a severance package after a termination, it has to establish just cause. That is no easy feat.
In most cases, if you willfully disobey a direct and clear order from your employer, knowing that it will lead to your termination, and the directive from the employer is within the realm of their authority, you can be terminated without a severance package. But, as ever, there are exceptions.
A man we will call Willy worked at an auto body shop as a technician for four years and then left to pursue another opportunity. Four years later, he got a call from his old employer. They were opening a new location. They told him that if he came back to the company he would have an opportunity to become a supervisor and participate in profit sharing. He accepted the invitation and a year after he went back he was promoted to foreman.