Safety & HCM Post

Deleting OHS Program Emails ≠ Just Cause to Fire Veteran Safety Director

For 20+ years, a 70-year-old OHS director served faithfully. Then things started going bad. Loss of the organization’s COR certification coupled with personality conflicts with higher-ups led to bonus and benefits cuts. Not long after, the decision was made to terminate, without cause, with 12 months’ notice. The manager took it hard but went along. Regrettably, he also deleted over 1,000 emails, some containing important information about the organization’s OHS program. So, the organization contended that termination was for cause and took back the offered notice. Post-termination conduct can be grounds for just cause; and what the manager did was “deserving of serious discipline.” But, the court continued, termination was too harsh considering the lack of harm (the emails were backed up), the manager’s long years of faithful service and his current weak physical condition. The damage bill for wrongful dismissal: $112K–$103.7K for 19 months’ salary and the rest for lost bonuses and benefits [Kerr v Arpac Storage Systems Corporation, 2018 BCSC 704 (CanLII), May 3, 2018].

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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