Terminating underperforming employees a delicate act (Toughest HR questions)

Even if PIP is followed, courts may rule just cause doesn’t exist
By Andrew Treash
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/27/2011

Question: How do you terminate an underperforming employee for cause when you haven’t done a performance improvement plan (PIP)?

Answer: Even if a PIP is used, it is very difficult to terminate an employee for cause based on poor performance. However, for a termination to have any chance of being upheld in court, the basic principles of a PIP must be followed.

People often associate dismissal for cause, also known as “summary dismissal,” with issues such as employee theft and dishonesty. It is not often you hear about a court finding where poor performance alone gave grounds for summary dismissal.