Termination with “Just Cause”

Do you have a clear understanding of the conditions allowing you to fire an employee for just cause? British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act outlines the workplace standards that BC employers must adhere to. Within the Act, are clear outlines for when an employer can terminate with just cause.

What is Just Cause?

Relating to employment, “just cause” refers to an employer’s right to discipline or terminate their employees for serious offence. Examples of misconduct that could result in termination with just cause, are:

  • Committing theft in the workplace
  • Harassing or assaulting other employees
  • Breaking company policy
  • Committing fraud

If the employer can prove an employee is being fired with just cause, the employer is not required to give notice or termination pay. It is essential that employers can prove just cause; because, if the employee disagrees on their reason for termination, they can sue for wrongful dismissal.

What is not considered just cause?

In most cases, employers cannot use just cause to terminate an employee for minor misconduct or unsatisfactory performance. In these instances, the Employment Standards Act requires employers to provide termination notice and pay. An employer may be able to apply just cause in the above scenarios, if they can prove the following:

  • The employer’s reasonable standards were clearly explained
  • The employee was told they were not meeting the standards
  • Had an adequate time period to meet the standards
  • Was forewarned termination would be the course of action should they not improve their behavior.
  • After the above, the employee still did not meet the standards laid out for them.

It is imperative that employers provide clear and consistent standards for all employees; to ensure they are setting clear expectations for their workforce.

Termination with Just Cause Advice

Looking for additional information on termination with just cause? Call our employer helpline now and ask our HR experts for advice - 1(833) 200-5103.