How has the digital world and remote work blurred the line between work time and personal time?
There has always been an issue as to whether a person can be disciplined at work for something that they did outside of work hours. However, with an ever-increasing digital world and with the increase in employees working remotely, the line between work time and personal time has been blurred even more.
The issue of off-duty conduct resulting in termination has begun to come up in the context of employees who have created accounts on the adult website, OnlyFans. In British Columbia, an executive assistant at a school board was threatened with termination as a result of her having set up an OnlyFans account, despite the fact that the account was operated during her personal, non-working time. This raises the question as to whether the employee’s off-duty conduct is so severe that it has irreparably broken the employment relationship.
How should employers handle employees engaging in off-duty conduct they disapprove of?
In general, employees are free to do what they wish outside of work hours, provided that their off-duty conduct does not seriously adversely affect their employer or employer’s reputation. Employers are permitted to terminate a worker’s employment without cause, provided the decision to do so is not discriminatory in nature, and the worker is then entitled to a severance package. However, for an employer to terminate someone’s employment with cause and without a severance package for off-duty conduct, the person must have engaged in off-duty conduct that so severely damaged the employment relationship that the relationship cannot continue.
How can Whitten & Lublin provide guidance on off-duty conduct matters?
If you are an employee looking to better understand your rights while off-duty, or if you are an employer seeking more information about how to handle an employee engaging in off-duty conduct your business does not approve of we encourage you to seek legal advice on the matter. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.
Author – Nasyr Asmi