Wrongful dismissal damages for employee fired after fire upheld

Appeal court’s decision reminds employers a prolonged absence is not necessarily a resignation

A resignation is matter of substance, not form. To constitute a valid resignation, there must be unequivocal evidence supported by conduct consistent with an employee’s intention to voluntary resign her employment. The employee’s conduct before and after the supposed resignation is relevant in making the determination. A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision, Beggs v. Westport Foods Ltd., serves as a useful reminder that employers who jump to the conclusion that an employee has resigned, without inquiring into reasons for the employee’s prolonged absence, do so at their economic peril.

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