Common employment law mistakes made by employers: #4 Not ending an employment relationship in a dignified manner
Canadian employers have a duty of good faith and fair dealing to employees in the course of a dismissal. This duty requires employers to be candid, reasonable, honest and forthright with an employee and prohibits an employer from engaging in conduct during the course of dismissal that was unfair or in bad faith by being, for example untruthful, misleading, or unduly insensitive. Harsh or insensitive treatment at the time of dismissal often results in emotional, protracted and expensive litigation. Examples of violations of the duties that often arise are:
- Firing an employee while the employee is on a disability leave
- Ending an employment relationship by way of a cold and perfunctory letter delivered to the employee’s home;
- Misleading an employee and acting callously by making critical misrepresentations in a termination letter; and
- Failing to comply with statutory minimum protections.
While it may be difficult to take the high-road in the heat of the moment, employers will benefit from a faster, smoother and less expensive end to the employment relationship if they can keep emotions under control and act in a reasonable manner.
The list of ‘top ten employment law mistakes made by employers’ was created in collaboration with arbitrator, mediator and independent workplace investigator Nick Milanovic for a joint presentation.