Dismissed for Just Cause – Should an Employer Offer a Favourable Reference?
When an employee is dismissed for just cause, this means that the dismissal is justified due to misconduct. In such instances, an employee would not be entitled to notice pay, which is the amount that would have been earned during the estimated time it takes to find comparable employment. If an employee is highly skilled, in a senior position, and has many others reporting to him/her, then notice pay could be substantial. It is not surprising, therefore, that a terminated employee dismissed for just cause would be inclined to challenge the dismissal in court as wrongful.
Although it may seem like standard practice, when an employee is dismissed for just cause, it is advisable for employers not to offer a favourable reference letter. Proving just cause dismissal is a high standard for employers, and offering a favourable reference letter would be counterintuitive in such a situation. In order to defend a wrongful dismissal claim, an employer would need to establish that the employee’s misconduct 100% justified a dismissal. In other words, there is no ‘near cause’ situation that would allow an employer to dismiss an employee without providing notice pay. When in doubt, employers should seek legal consultation from an employment lawyer.