Labour & Employment Law Blog

Can an employee be fired for things they do outside of the workplace?

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Case Summary

It is quite rare for an employee to be fired for things they do outside of the workplace. And, generally, what employees do in their private lives, as long as it remains private, has no bearing on whether or not they can be fired by their employer.

However, this does not mean getting fired for your “off hours” activities cannot happen.

An employer has the right to terminate an employee for behaviours or activities that take place outside of the workplace as long as those behaviours are contrary to the public image and reputation of the employer. In fact, many employers have a code of conduct that employees are required to abide by and which may specify that they could be fired for activities that take place outside of the workplace that brings the public image of the employer into disrepute.

This fact can take on a greater significance when the employee is well known to the public and the nature of their actions could cause harm to the employer’s “brand”. This issue has become quite a hot topic in the media recently when it became known that the CBC had fired the well known radio host Jian Ghomeshi. It was reported in various news agencies that the CBC had fired Jian Ghomeshi because certain allegations came to light and Ghomeshi stated on his Facebook page that he was fired because of the risk “of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.” In retaliation, Jian Ghomeshi sued the CBC for $50 million on a variety of grounds including breach of confidence and defamation.

It is important to note that even in a unionized workplace (such as the CBC) employees can be fired in cases of “just cause.” Just cause can arise out of a failure to perform one’s duties but could include something an employee does in their own time that brings the employer’s image into public disrepute.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.