Just Cause Terminations: Terminated for Poor Performance?

Sometimes there has been a breakdown in the employer-employee relationship, such that it results in termination with allegations of “just cause”. When an employer alleges cause for your termination, they do not have to provide you with notice. Typical reasons for “just cause” terminations can include: stealing, lying, falsifying records, fraud, disclosing private, confidential information, and the list goes on.

Just Cause Termination for Poor Performance

But what if your employer is alleging that your performance is the reason for your termination?

Imagine this scenario: You have worked for your employer for over 10 years in the same position for the same manager. You do your job well, and you always receive good performance reviews and feedback from your superiors. This year, there has been a change in management, and you now have to report to a new manager. There seems to be a bit of friction between you and your new manager, and the communication is a bit off.

At your next performance review, you find out that your new manager thinks you need improvement in a lot of areas that were never an issue before, and puts you on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) for the next 3 months. You are upset, but you work hard for the next 3 months and at your progress meetings, you ask for feedback. (https://hummingbirddental.ca/) The feedback you receive is positive, yet at the end of your PIP, you’ve been informed that the company has no choice but to let you go. You did not receive a termination package because the company alleges that they have cause to terminate you.

High Standard for Just Cause Termination

First of all, the standard of just cause is very high, and usually, performance issues fail to meet that high threshold. In accordance with Regulation 288/01 section 2(1) (3) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), only a finding of “willful misconduct” will be sufficient to support a termination with just cause. Most often, issues in performance are not found to be wilful.

Additionally, if there were performance issues, there should have been a progressive discipline in place such as warning letters, PIPs, more training or coaching sessions. Termination should be the last resort and in any event, termination of just cause often would not be considered proportionate to the offence of poor performance.

If you have been terminated for “just cause” and your employer alleges that your poor performance was the reason for your termination, you should contact the employment lawyers at Monkhouse Law today.

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