CH 21 Essay

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Study Guide to accompany Canadian Business and the Law, 5th edition

Chapter 21

CHAPTER 21
TERMINATING THE
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP
Objectives
After studying this chapter, you should have an understanding of
• how the employment relationship ends
• the differences among dismissals for just cause, dismissals with notice, constructive dismissals, and wrongful dismissals
• the issues arising from a wrongful dismissal suit
• the components of a termination settlement

Learning Outcomes










Recognize that an employer can fire an employee (page 521)
Understand that if there is just cause for the termination, the employee is not entitled to notice of termination (page 521)
Understand what constitutes just cause for dismissal (pages 521–526)
Understand that if there is no just cause for dismissal, the employee is entitled to reasonable notice, or pay instead of notice (page 527)
Understand the factors that determine the period of notice (page 528)
Understand what constitutes constructive dismissal (pages 530–532)
Understand the type of damages that the wrongfully terminated employee can claim
(page 535)
Understand how the employer can reduce the risks of wrongful dismissal actions through negotiation (page 538)
Recognize the difference in the procedure of a termination case of a unionized employee
(pages 539–540)

Chapter Summary
Employment ends when an employee resigns or retires, or when the employer dismisses, gives notice, or otherwise terminates the relationship. An employer may, subject to contractual provisions, summarily terminate an employee if just cause exists. What constitutes just cause is a question of fact, but it must involve a situation in which the employee has breached a fundamental term of the employment contract. In the absence of just cause, an employer must give notice of termination (or pay in lieu of notice). Notice is either what is specified in the employment contract or reasonable notice. The latter is determined by reference to the employee’s age, position within the organization, and length of service, and by the availability of alternative employment. When the employer breaches a fundamental term of the employment contract (i.e., demotes or cuts pay), the employee may
© 2014 Nelson Education Limited

376

Study Guide to accompany Canadian Business and the Law, 5th edition

Chapter 21

treat the breach as constructive dismissal. The termination of employment by the employer is often a traumatic event in the life of the employee. Courts have increasingly put an onus on the employer to act fairly and decently toward the terminated employee. In the event of a successful wrongful dismissal suit, an employer may be required to compensate for unfair and harsh conduct in the termination process. Wrongful dismissal suits can be costly, time consuming, and embarrassing. An employer may want to reduce the risks by considering a termination settlement that provides a measure of compensation to an employee. It may be much cheaper in the long run.

© 2014 Nelson Education Limited

377

Study Guide to accompany Canadian Business and the Law, 5th edition

Chapter 21

Study Outline
Use this outline to prepare a complete set of notes for this chapter.
Ending the Relationship—page 521
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
Dismissals for Just Cause—page 521
______________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
Serious Misconduct______________________________________________________
Progressive discipline policy ___________________________________________
Condonation ________________________________________________________
Habitual Neglect of Duty _________________________________________________
Incompetence __________________________________________________________
Conduct Incompatible with Employee’s…