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Digest of the Week | Context of Employment

The context of employment was relevant to the determination that the employer had just cause to dismiss the employee


Turner v. Atco Frontec Corp.
266 A.C.W.S. (3d) 619, 2016 ABQB 265, 2016 CarswellAlta 854,[2016] A.W.L.D. 2316, [2016] A.W.L.D. 2268
Alberta Court of Queen's Bench

EMPLOYMENT — Wrongful dismissal — Cause

Plaintiff employee was hired by defendant employer to work as dispatcher at camp in Bosnia — There was documented incident about employee threatening senior supervisor and being warned — Complainant, fellow employee, then complained to employer that employee had harassed and threatened her — At meeting about complaint, employee took position that he had done nothing wrong and conducted himself in intimidating manner — Employee was terminated from his employment — Employee brought action for damages for wrongful dismissal and defamation — Action dismissed — Employee’s conduct had to be seen in context of employment where all employees lived and worked on small military base in Bosnia — At meeting about harassment complaint employee exhibited contempt for procedure, and assertive, aggressive behaviour toward complainant, and she felt intimidated and threatened by employee’s words and actions — There was deterioration of relationship between employee and complainant and legitimate concerns about intimidation could not be resolved — Employer could not leave both employees working in same position and in same camp environment — Employee was not willing to compromise and his attitude showed deterioration of employment relationship and fundamental breach of employee’s obligations — Employer did not have duty to search for another position for employee — Employee’s conduct was incompatible with continued existence of employment relationship and employer had cause to terminate employment.

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