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11. Dismissal for Cause
  Employers can fire employees if they have a good reason. However, this raises two questions. First, just what is a “good reason” to fire someone? Second, if the reason is a good one, did the employee actually behave in the way the employer alleges? Here are some employee behaviours that courts have used to support an employer who fired someone for an alleged “good reason,” otherwise called “just cause”:
  • using drugs or alcohol that interfere with your job performance
  • ignoring a strict workplace rule of “no alcohol during work hours”
  • intentionally disobeying your boss
  • consistently refusing to follow a clearly defined chain of authority in a tightly-knit business
  • disloyalty to your employer or putting yourself in a conflict of interest (for example, setting up a business to compete directly with your employer)
  • ignoring a clear workplace policy, procedure, or rule
  • dishonesty about something important, like a bank teller stealing from a bank
  • incompetence (for example, if you got a job because you said you could repair automatic transmissions, and it turns out you can't)

Some employers may try to avoid giving you notice or severance pay by saying there is just cause to fire you, even if there isn’t. If you are fired and the employer says there was just cause, look very carefully at the employer’s reasons. There’s no just cause if you are dismissed because your employer is losing money or is reorganized, or because your job becomes redundant or is eliminated by technological change. A personality conflict between you and your boss may not be just cause – it depends on the facts of the case. In all these cases, the employer must give you advance notice or severance pay – or a combination of them. If there is no just cause to fire you, use the database at FiredWithoutCause.com to find out how much of a severance package you are entitled to.



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