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I was terminated from my place of employment for a

Customer Question
harassment allegation that was filed...
I was terminated from my place of employment for a harassment allegation that was filed with HR by another fellow co-worker who I had no prior issues with. My manager enforced a zero tolerance approach over this matter and terminated my employment on the spot. There was myself and a group of 3 other people that were sitting around in the lunch room just joking around and having some fun, which is the norm in this office. Everyone likes to play practical jokes on each other. I had drawn comical boobs on 2 of the employees photos on the company employee sheet just for laughs, originally both employees were in the lunch room. I didn't realize that one of the other employees had left the lunch room to take a personal call, myself and the other fellow co-workers laughed it off and after we realized that the other employee had left the lunch room I ended up tearing up the photo and trashing it. The other co-worker who was in the lunch room who laughed it off apparently went to other co-worker and let her know that I had drawn the photo thinking she was just going to laugh it off and not take any offence to it. This co-worker who has only been employed for less than 2 months, who's known in the office to have no filter and makes offensive comments daily decided to put a formal harassment complaint to HR. She claims that if I had approached her she would have no issue with the comical photo however the fact that another employee made her aware of it she took offence to that. My manager called me into her office and questioned whether I drew the so called photo, I advised her yes and that it was just a comical photo and I was under the assumption that the employee in question was in the lunch room I wasn't aware she had left. I had no ill intention or maliscious intent in anyway. At that point, she handed me my termination papers with a 2 week severance pay. I've never had any issues with my employer, stand up employee with an impeccable employment record. I was the employee in the office that would build the work morale by putting together monthly pot lucks, organizing social functions outside of work. The day prior to my termination I had a conversation with my fellow co-worker who placed the harassment allegation and we were fine laughing and joking around. Allegation was never investigated, I had no indication what so ever that this fellow co-worker had any issue at all with me. After I was walked out I had fellow co-workers of mine messaging me on facebook shocked with what took place. Apparently my manager called a meeting with the entire personal lines department advising each and everyone the reason for my termination naming myself and the co-worker who placed fourth the harassment allegation making each and every employee aware that they have a zero tolerance policy for such behaviour, which was never made aware to any of us since the first day I started employment with the organization. I was personally told by a fellow co-worker that my so called manager had an issue with me, personality clash I was told and was looking for a reason to terminate my employment hence the reason she took such a strong stand. Any other employee she would have given them a warning, and would have dealt with it internally. The fact that my name has been tarnished within the organization and each and every employee now knows the reason for my termination is not acceptable what happen to employee/employer confidentiality. After I was walked out I was told by a fellow co-worker that my manager was going through each and everyone's recycling box looking for the so called photo and trying to name others responsible. Also, the employee who put fourth the harassment allegation left the office early because she was being approached so many of her fellow co-workers questioning why she would make a harassment allegation against me considering we were all good friends within the department and that I would never do anything to intentionally hurt her in anyway.
Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Canada Law
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
9/20/2017
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 9 months ago
Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 105,133
Experience: Lawyer
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Hello! My name is Debra (formerly known as Legal Ease). Thank you for your question. I'm reviewing it now, and will post back again shortly.

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Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

I am sorry to hear this.

What province are you in?

How long have you worked there for?

Are you in a union?

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
Ontario
Employed for 18 months (full time)
Non-unionized
Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

The law is that an employer can dismiss you for any reason even if there is no just cause so long as they provide you with reasonable notice or pay in lieu.

For this reason the facts leading up to the dismissal do not matter as they are not saying you are being dismissed for just cause. Rather they are providing you with two week's termination. So the only question is whether they provided enough or not. Generally, in determining what is reasonable notice Courts look at several factors including the length of time you worked for the employer, your age, your position, the likelihood of finding new employment etc.

At the high end, if you were in a managerial position, the Court would likely order one month's notice or pay in lieu of notice for each year of employment. So, if you are in a management position the Court might order 6 weeks or so. If you were not in a managerial position the Court would order somewhat less.

Under the Employment Standards Act which prescribes the minimum notice requirements, the employer had to give you 2 weeks notice.

For this reason 2 weeks may be a bit low. You were not in senior management and so 6 weeks is not what a court would order but they could order 3. It may make sense for you or a lawyer acting for you to send them a letter demanding further pay in the hope that they offer you another week or so.

Does that clarify the law?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

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Lawyer: Debra, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

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