Deconstructing a dismissal: Where Home Depot went wrong

Just cause is a pretty high hurdle for employers to leap. As one Ontario court judge so aptly put it, just cause is the "capital punishment" of employment law. As a result, employers have to be very careful when relying on just cause to terminate an employee. A recent case involving a Toronto-area Home Depot store provides a textbook lesson for employers in how not to fire a worker for cause
By Todd Humber
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/23/2006

Just cause is a pretty high hurdle for employers to clear. After all, as Justice Randall Echlin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice so rightly put it, just cause is the “capital punishment of employment law.”

In dismissing a worker for cause, an employer is able to wash its hands of the situation, without giving the worker any notice or any compensation. As a result, a court won’t hesitate to hold the employer’s feet to the fire and make the employer prove it had a legitimate reason for terminating the employment relationship in such a manner.

An Ontario case involving Home Depot provides a textbook example of how not to fire a worker for just cause.