Think you know the legal ramifications of firing an employee? Think again.
Whilst many HR practitioners may believe they’re all clued up when it comes to termination, there’s still some grey areas that have the propensity to trip leaders up. We spoke to Natalie C. MacDonald, owner of the Toronto boutique law firm MacDonald & Associates and speaker at HRD Canada’s upcoming webinar – You’re Fired! The legal issues.
She talked us through the best ways to fire an employee ‘ethically’ – so to avoid hurt feelings and a brand scandal.
“To ‘fire someone ethically’, it is imperative that the employer has acted fairly and reasonably,” she told HRD Canada. “In respect of that, it is key that if the employer is choosing to allege just cause for the termination, and therefore, provide the employee with nothing upon the dismissal, that the employer actually have just cause to terminate the employee’s employment, and can prove it in a court of law.
“If the employer decides that it does not have just cause to terminate the employment relationship, then the employer must assess the employee’s age, length of service, character of employment and availability of comparable employment, and provide that person with a reasonable notice period that is fair and reasonable having regard to those factors.”
During the notice period, Natalie told HRD Canada, the employer must ensure that it continue the person’s compensation, including salary, bonus and benefits, including any RRSP contributions.
Above all, firing someone ethically comes down to treating someone fairly and reasonably upon dismissal and not doing anything to hurt or harm the person at this particularly vulnerable time.
“In that respect, employers need to refrain from unduly taking steps to harm the person or to provide the person with a reason to allege that the employer acted in bad faith, in either its pre or post termination behaviour.”
To hear more from Natalie on best practices in termination, sign up to HRD Canada’s upcoming webinar here.