In part one, I went over some of the reasons you needed to examine in order to determine if you had been wrongfully terminated, and if you should seek legal actions against your former employer. In this part, we will look at some of the aspects from an employer’s side of things, particularly the ideas of “just cause.”
As touched upon in part 1, if there is a just cause for termination, then the employer is not required to provide any sort of notice before following through with the actual termination process. Just cause can be a variety of things, depending on the position, and does not have to be based on a specific incident, but may be accumulated incidents over time, like a history of absenteeism, misconduct or insubordination on the job, theft, long term bad behavior, etc. Your overall performance for a length of time may provide enough incidents that it gives just cause for termination.
If the cause is based upon issues over a period of time, the employers need to keep in mind that they have the burden of proof on them if the case ever went to court. In most cases like this, the employer will have been expected to have enacted some sort of disciplinary actions along the way, showing evidence of having pointed out the issues before it led up to termination. Things like suspensions, demotions, or other forms of discipline could be easily shown to have occurred during that time before the employee was dismissed, but it may not always be that way. Sometimes it may be more evident in performance reviews or in record of verbal or written warnings that were given and adequate time allowed to note any performance improvement afterwards.
In a nutshell, the employer should seek to show that they have established reasonable and objective standards of performance, that in some way the employee failed to meet or keep those standards, that the employee was informed of this failure, and that adequate warning was given that their job was in jeopardy if they continued failing to meet those standards.
If these steps were failed to be enacted, then the employers ability to prove they had “just cause” will be severely hindered. If the employer does not have just cause, they normally would move to take the action of preparing a severance package to be given. However, while this severance package must meet a statutory minimum compensation package, the minimum may not be acceptable to the employee, and so they may wish to seek legal advice to seek additional benefits. If it goes to court, history has shown that many courts do not find the statutory minimal amount to what they consider “reasonable notice” and that results in the employers having to compensate employees further.
Of course there are always so many additional factors in cases like this, and so if you feel that some of the things mentioned in these articles apply to your case, then simply seeking additional legal advice would be the next step. Once all of the details are brought together, it can be determined from there is a case can be made and if actual legal action should be pursued.