When Do Performance Problems Amount to Just Cause?

Our courts continue to emphasize how difficult it is to establish just cause for termination based on performance. A recent case made it clear that any such termination must be preceded by a very clear and current warning.

The court accepted that the employee’s performance was clearly below standard, but not “grossly deficient”. Accordingly, a warning was required. An effective warning will

(1)    state a reasonable objective standard of performance to be met,
(2)    provide details of the employee’s failure to meet that standard,
(3)    give a reasonable amount of time to correct the situation,
(4)    state in clear language indicating the employee’s job is on the line, and
(5)    be followed by meaningful assistance from the employer to help the employee improve.

[Haddock v. Thrifty Foods (2003) Limited, et al., 2011 BCSC 922]

cause just cause meaningful assistance standard of performance termination warning


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