In employment, the term “termination for cause” is a last-resort remedy. It is also sometimes referred to as the “capital punishment” of employment and labour law. Termination for cause occurs where the employer dismisses an employee without providing notice of dismissal or a severance package, as there is an alleged “cause” for the termination.
Termination for cause is an appropriate response by the employer where the employee has engaged in serious acts of wrongdoing. It is also appropriate in cases where the employer has made attempts at using a progressive discipline procedure, however, the employee has not responded.
Termination for cause is found where there is serious misconduct, habitual neglect of duty, incompetence, etc. The acts or omissions will have gone to the root of the employment agreement, and it will become impossible for the employment relationship to continue.
Who bears the onus?
Whenever an employer has terminated an employee for cause, they will bear the evidentiary burden of proving on a balance of probabilities that the employer had just cause to terminate the employee for cause. In these cases, the employer bears the burden of proving just cause, as they were the one who had alleged the cause.
Termination for cause is examined on a case-to-case basis. When examining whether the just cause is justified, the employer will have to prove that the acts or omissions of the employee were so significant that the employee’s misconduct repudiated the employment contract, and that the employment relationship can no longer continue.
How can Zeilikman Law help?
Our experienced lawyers understand the risks involved when terminating an employee for just cause, as improperly alleged cause can result in a wrongful dismissal proceeding.
We can help provide the legal advice needed to ensure that all steps taken in a termination for cause meet the legal requirements necessary to avoid liability altogether or minimize liability if a lawsuit is inevitable.
If you are in need of legal advice concerning the termination of a particular employee, or if your company has been served with a lawsuit or notice of a legal proceeding in respect of the termination of one of your company’s employees, we invite you to contact us to request a consultation without delay.