Proportionate Approach Necessary to Determine Whether Just Cause Exists
Date: February 6, 2013
The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently confirmed that a proportionate approach must be taken in determining whether a single incident of misconduct by a long-serving employee with a relatively unblemished work record should result in dismissal for cause.
In Plester v. PolyOne Canada, the plaintiff failed to lock out a machine prior to working on it, an incident which was in contravention of the employer’s safety rules. The plaintiff intended to report the infraction but failed to so immediately, and his co-workers proceeded to report it, as they were required to do under the safety rules. The plaintiff was terminated for cause. The Court found that despite the employer’s strong commitment to health and safety in the workplace, one violation of its safety rules, which did not put other employees at risk and for which the plaintiff had intended to self-report, did not constitute just cause for termination.
A discussion of this case is found on our Case in Point blog, “Court of Appeal Upholds Finding that One Health and Safety Violation Did Not Constitute Just Cause for Termination.”