On August 20, 2021, University Health Network (“UHN”) informed all of its employees that if they do not obtain their COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October 2021, their employment will be terminated.
On October 22, 2021, UHN contacted all of its employees who had yet to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 or had yet to disclose their vaccination status. In a letter provided to each employee, UHN stated that the employee would be terminated for cause.
Can UHN terminate employment for cause for refusing to be vaccinated from COVID-19?
At this time, no judge or Court in Canada has ruled that failure to be either partially or fully vaccinated from COVID-19 is justification for a for cause dismissal.
For more information into terminations for cause and COVID-19, we recommend you review the following: If you are unvaccinated, can your employer terminate you for cause?
Can UHN terminate my employment for cause for refusing to disclose my vaccination status?
Likewise, at this time, no judge or Court in Canada has ruled that failure to disclose your vaccination status regarding COVID-19 is justification for a for cause dismissal.
For more information on vaccination disclosure and COVID-19, we recommend you review the following: Do I need to disclose my vaccination status to keep my job?
The Significant Impact of a For Cause Dismissal
In addition to the inevitable shock and despair you may feel from a for cause termination, there are several troubling consequences that you will likely experience:
- Losing out on a severance package, which includes your statutory entitlements;
- Losing the ability to apply for Employment Insurance during a pandemic; and
- Losing the ability to obtain a positive recommendation letter from your employer.
Any of these consequences, in and of themselves, can be incredibly challenging to overcome. During a pandemic, this could make finding a new job and recovering financially even more difficult.
What should you do?
We recommend that you obtain legal representation immediately. If you have been placed on unpaid leave or terminated for cause by UHN, and are not unionized, it is highly likely that you may be entitled to a severance package.
There are significant consequences that you will experience if you are terminated for cause. Therefore, taking action quickly is imperative.