When does an employer have “just cause” for terminating an employee’s employment?

Under Canadian law, “just cause” will generally exist if an employee has been guilty of serious misconduct, habitual neglect of duty, incompetence, or wilful disobedience. Examples of such misconduct include theft and routine insubordination. Sometimes, however, even if an employee’s actions fall into one of the categories of misconduct generally recognized as amounting to cause, the employer may still not have legal “just cause” for termination. If an employer truly has “just cause” for dismissal, the employer can fire the employee immediately, without notice or incurring any severance liability.


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