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DISCIPLINE AND TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT - Dishonesty and untrustworthiness

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 @ 5:32 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by the plaintiff from dismissal of his wrongful dismissal action. The respondent received information that the appellant, a sales representative for the respondent, had taken product from one of its customer’s stores without authorization. The cheese taken by the appellant was allegedly unsaleable. The respondent terminated the appellant’s employment without conducting any further investigation. The trial judge found that the appellant intended to steal the cheese and that the cheese was in good condition and perfectly saleable. The trial judge found that the appellant’s conduct gave rise to a fundamental breakdown in the employment relationship and entitled the respondent to terminate the appellant’s employment for just cause and without notice.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. In Manitoba, at common law, an employer had no duty to investigate prior to dismissing an employee. The trial judge made no palpable and overriding error in finding that the appellant had taken cheese from the store without authorization and that this dishonest conduct constituted just cause for his summary dismissal by the respondent. Under Manitoba law, the respondent had no duty to investigate the circumstances of the appellant’s misconduct. Since the respondent was able to establish just cause at trial, there was no legal consequence to the respondent for having failed to conduct a meaningful, or any, investigation prior to terminating the appellant.

McCallum v. Saputo Dairy Products GP, [2021] M.J. No. 189, Manitoba Court of Appeal, F.M. Steel, J.A. Pfuetzner and K.I. Simonsen JJ.A., June 16, 2021. Digest No. TLD-July192021005