Numerous groups gathered across Canada to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. To support these groups, online fundraisers were established. A wide array of individuals, within Canada and abroad, opted to display their support through financial donations.
Recently, hackers obtained and leaked the data from these fundraisers. As a result, the personal information of those who donated became public.
In response, public outcry ensued. Many employees resigned. Others were terminated.
Despite not physically being present, many employees may be stuck wondering:
- Can my employer terminate me for making a donation to a protest?
- Can my employer terminate me with cause for making a donation to a protest?
- If I am terminated, am I owed any severance?
Can I be terminated with cause for making a donation to a protest?
In order for an employer to lawfully terminate an employee with cause for making a donation to a protest, the employer must show that:
a) Demonstrable harm was caused to the brand, image, or operation of the employer; and
b) The off-duty misconduct was intentional or deliberate
In order to meet this test, an employer must effectively show that a donation by an employee harmed the employer’s reputation in such a significant way that it caused them to lose business.
While there may be certain individuals that singlehandedly cause such an impact, this will be a difficult threshold to meet for most employers.
I was terminated with cause: What do I do?
In the event that you are terminated with cause, it is likely that you will receive zero severance pay, no reference letter, and difficulty receiving employment insurance. Given the high threshold that an employer must meet, it is likely that you will be owed some form of severance pay. We
highly recommend you contact one of our associates to review your matter and determine your entitlements.
I was terminated without cause: What do I do?
An employer has the right to terminate you without cause for any reason, so long as you are compensated adequately. In most cases, an employer will seek to minimize this payment.
Therefore, we highly advise that you speak to one of our legal representatives to learn about your entitlements upon termination.
Conclusion: Key Takeaways
Generally speaking, a donation to a protest should not rise to the level necessary to justify a termination. While an employer can terminate your employment for nearly any reason, at nearly any time, they can only do so without cause.
If an employer seeks to terminate your employment with cause, they must meet a very high legal threshold.
A donation to a protest in and of itself is unlikely to meet this threshold. However, if your donation has the possibility to significantly impact your employer’s business, it is possible a with cause dismissal can be justified.
This was written by Boris Alexander, Employment Lawyer at Monkhouse Law. Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm in Toronto with a focus on workers’ issues.
If you have found yourself terminated from your employment as a result of your donation to a protest, or you simply wish to learn more about your rights, we recommend that you contact us to speak to a lawyer about your specific circumstances. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.