Worker fraud usually justifies dismissal

But it’s not a slam-dunk case and employers should act with haste, but not hastily
By Denise Bambrough and Matthew Certosimo
|CHRR, Report on Employment Law|Last Updated: 10/20/2006

Lest there be any doubt, defrauding one’s employer is cause for dismissal. All too often, however, employers fail to properly and thoroughly investigate suspicions of employee fraud or theft prior to dismissal. Employers are well-advised, based upon reasonable suspicions of employee fraud or theft, to act with haste, but not hastily.

It is fundamental to the employment relationship that employees not steal from, or commit criminal acts against, their employers. An employee’s criminal deception, particularly to achieve an unjust personal gain, even once, generally amounts to just cause. Employee fraud can take many shapes and forms, such as the falsification of expense receipts, overcharging an employer on invoices for services, unauthorized personal long-distance phone calls, sick leave abuse and the misuse of company funds for personal gain.

But employers must also keep in mind that Canadian courts have set the bar fairly high when it comes to proving wrongdoing. To succeed in court, an employer must be able to produce compelling evidence.