The challenge of knowing what amounts to just cause for summary dismissal, and what doesn’t, can stymie employers and their lawyers alike. It can be extremely difficult to estimate how a court will react to allegations of misconduct (and the assertion that they amount to cause for summary dismissal).
In reality, all we can do is consider how previous situations have been handled by the courts and assess how similar circumstances might be viewed. It’s definitely more an art than a science.
That being the case, we are sometimes proven wrong in our assessment. That’s why I like to caution employers (and employees) that while 100% of litigants believe their case is going to be successful, 50% of those people are ultimately proven wrong.
A recent decision by B.C.’s Supreme Court is one which I’m certain I would have assessed incorrectly. It involved an employee, McGachie, and her refusal to acknowledge a mistake she had made in the course of her duties.