Employee Discipline Lawyers

Discipline Advice

Employers are free to discipline their employees however they wish. In fact, employers are not even required to discipline their employers before they can terminate employment. Employers can dismiss anybody for any reason, at any time, so long as it not discriminatory. It is only a wrongful dismissal if the employer failed to provide notice or termination pay in lieu of notice upon termination without just cause. Conversely, if the employer has just cause to dismiss an employee, it doesn’t have to give any notice to the employee.

Accordingly, employers are free to craft their own discipline strategy. Most employers choose to enforce on their employees a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”). This is a written record of discipline, warning and outline for improvement. Employees are cautioned, however, never to let a PIP lull them into a false sense of hope. Most employers, in our experience, use a PIP for only one reason – to pad the case should they elect to terminate the employee for just cause. This is because without a very serious culminating incident, it is very challenging to terminate an employee for just cause. The law usually requires several warnings regarding an employee’s conduct before cause to terminate employment without notice is justifiable.

Sometimes, however, an employee is able to claim a constructive dismissal if their employer takes discipline too far. A constructive dismissal allows an employee to stop working and demand termination pay or sue for wrongful dismissal even though the employee was never terminated. In this respect, an employee may be able to claim a constructive dismissal if the employer:

  • lowered the employee’s pay;
  • changed the employee’s description;
  • demoted the employee;
  • moved the employee to a different location;
  • was overly hostile in the discipline process;
  • was unfair in the discipline process;
  • imposed a probation period; or
  • imposed a suspension.
Dutton Employment Law is an employee discipline law firm.

If you have a workplace discipline issue or question or are concerned that your workplace discipline has any of the above-noted indicia of constructive dismissal, contact a Toronto employee discipline lawyer today.