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Digest of the Week | Wrongful Dismissal

Court finds employee was wrongfully dismissed after employee was fired for failing at a task employer did not train or prepare employee for

Saliken v. Alpine Aerotech Limited Partnership
266 A.C.W.S. (3d) 618
British Columbia Supreme Court

EMPLOYMENT — Wrongful dismissal — Cause

Plaintiff employee was helicopter mechanic who worked for defendant employer for 15 months when he was summarily dismissed without notice — Audit was conducted by potential customer of employer and employer determined that employee's conduct was aggressive, rude and unprofessional during interaction with representative, and justified his immediate termination — Employee signed termination agreement that purported to release employer from any claims arising out of employment or termination — Employee looked for work but had only secured brief employment — Employee brought action seeking damages for wrongful dismissal — Action allowed — Employee admitted that his interaction with representative was not appropriate or professional — Employee was not equipped to handle questions representative was asking, but given importance of audit to employer, employer should have prepared employee — Employer took no steps to meet with employee to discuss incident or discipline him following incident — Employer did not have just cause to terminate employee without notice — Employer did not have right to expect perfect behaviour from employee given that no orientation, education or preparation had been provided to him prior to audit — Employer overreacted to isolated incident — While employee's actions justified some discipline, they did not justify dismissal without notice — Termination was disproportionate to employee's conduct
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