I Have A Simple Question

These are the words most dreaded by an employment lawyer.  Quite frequently these calls come on a Friday afternoon moments before you are scheduled to meet friends for a cold one.

Over the next few months I will attempt to debunk the myths of the “simple question” with common examples as follows:

1. Joe has been away from work for six months on a medical leave – can I let him go?

2. Things have slowed down and I need to reduce Frank’s hours – I can do that right? Or is that a constructive dismissal?  What is a constructive dismissal anyway?

3. I have unlimited access to any information my employees place on their work computers or work PDAs – right?

4. Joe is due back from parental leave on Monday.  His replacement is much better than he is – I can let him go right?

5. I need to let Joe go.  I phoned Employment Standards and they said that all I needed to do was pay one week severance per year of service to a maximum of eight weeks – that’s right isn’t it?

6. I changed Joe’s job and he is suing me for constructive dismissal while he still works for me-he can’t do that can he?

7. Joe is turning 65 this year so I intend to require him to give me a retirement date – I can do that right?

8. Joe, my bookkeeper, just got convicted of possession of marijuana – I can terminate him right?

9. I just fired Joe -do I have to give a reference?

10. Joe just requested a copy of his personnel file under the Personal Information Protection Act – I don’t have to give him copies of disciplinary comments do I?

Stay tuned.  If you have any questions you would like added to the list email them to [email protected] for consideration.

Alf Kempf is the Chair of Pushor Mitchell’s Employment Law Group. He can be reached by phone at (250) 869-1215, or by email at [email protected].

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