Whether you are an employer or employee facing an employment law issue, it is important that you seek the advice and expertise of lawyers experienced in dealing with these complex issues, particularly in light of a recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision about when someone can be fired “for cause”.

In the case of Stock v Oak Bay Marina 2017 BCSC 359, the British Columbia Supreme Court confirmed that even if an employee had acted dishonestly, fraudulently or deceitfully, an employer cannot, in all cases, dismiss that employee without giving an adequate warning, even if the nature of the employee’s actions appears to justify immediate dismissal.

In this case, Ms. Stock was a long-term employee who had worked for Oak Bay for over 20 years. Ms. Stock was for the most part a sales agent who sold accommodation and guest activities. In return for her services, Ms. Stock was paid a basic salary and commission based on the sales that she made. With the increased use of online booking over the last 20 years, Oak Bay introduced policies that prevented employees from claiming credit for reservations made online where the sales agents had no involvement.

After the new policy was introduced, Oak Bay discovered that Ms. Stock had claimed commission payments from online reservations. They confronted her at a meeting. Ms. Stock maintained that she had simply intended to call those accounts after the online reservations had been made and upsell them additional services. Ms. Stock did not believe that she had done anything wrong. Oak Bay disagreed and immediately sent Ms. Stock home, terminating her employment for cause. Ms. Stock subsequently brought a claim for wrongful dismissal.