TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT due to dishonesty – When can my boss fire me for dishonesty?
You may have tweaked your resume and omitted specifics about your previous job just to get a dream job. You may have lied about your previous salary to get you a better employment contract. Perhaps, you failed to report suspected thefts by colleagues, or you decided to take on a second employment against your employers’ policy. Regardless of the context, you are not alone. Everyday, many employees lie to their employers. Although some employees may not grasp the gravity of their dishonesty from an employer’s perspective, some dishonest acts have resulted to dire consequences like outright dismissal.
As a result, the questions then become “when can my boss fire me for dishonesty? Should my dishonesty constitute just cause for my termination? Is my action that serious to warrant a dismissal for just cause?
The law in Canada is that a single act of dishonesty does not, in and of itself, amount to cause for dismissal. Rather, the act must be gauged in the context of the employment relationship. This means that the employer must place the dishonesty side by side with whole job to see if a dismissal is warranted. The main issue will come down to the seriousness of the dishonesty, based on its impact on that employee, other employees, customers and the organisation. Has the employer lost all faith in the employee?
There is more tolerance for a dishonest conduct or action that merely offends the employer or its policies. However, the following will be considered as deserving a termination for just cause:
- A dishonesty that shows an intentional pattern of fraud or theft;
- A dishonesty that affects third parties, causes the employer huge loss or publicly embarrasses the employer in relation to others.
In all cases, the trust and responsibility in the position of the employee will also be relevant.
Therefore, unless the dishonesty ruptures the employment relationship that it can no longer continue, a just cause termination will not be applied to a less serious dishonesty. The employer must respond with a proportionate punishment. Other options like a warning, suspension or even a demotion may be considered.
If the employer feels strongly about the position of the law about viewing dishonesty in the context, it may decide to terminate the dishonest employee with a reasonable notice, without cause. While there may be several instances of dishonesty that beg the question whether a termination for cause is justified, a finding of dishonesty itself, does not create just cause for dismissal.
Author: Calista Nwaiwu