We provided evidence supporting the defendant's claim of harassment and insubordination by the plaintiff, justifying his termination. This was crucial as there is no fixed rule detailing when an employee’s conduct justifies a summary termination of employment. The court has to assess the degree of misconduct and the surrounding circumstances. Summary dismissal will be justified when conduct:
- violates an essential condition of the employment contract;
- is fundamentally or directly inconsistent with the employee’s obligations to his employer;
- and destroys the mutual faith necessary for the employment relationship to continue
There is no hard and fast rule about whether an employer must issue a warning to an employee accused of harassment before terminating employment. In this case, the plaintiff’s behaviour towards the complainant in 2011 constituted verbal and sexual harassment of a type and level which was completely unacceptable in a professional workplace, and which demanded a response by the defendant.
We successfully proved that the plaintiff’s behaviour was directly inconsistent with his obligations to manage his department professionally and ensure a safe and respectful workplace for his subordinates. It was also inconsistent with his obligation to protect his employer from potential lawsuits arising from this type of conduct. For all these reasons, the plaintiff’s conduct was incompatible with his continued employment and his termination was for just cause.