Wrongfully terminated B.C. woman awarded $81K after sending ‘strongly worded’ email

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B.C. woman fired after 'strongly worded' email wins $81K for wrongful termination



“BC Woman Awarded $81,100 After Being Fired Over ‘Strongly Worded’ Email”

A B.C. woman, Kavita Lefebvre, has recently been awarded $81,100 in compensation for wrongful dismissal after being fired over what was described as a “strongly worded” email. The supreme court decision found that the construction company, Gisborne Holdings Ltd., terminated Lefebvre without cause, concluding that the email did not constitute the type of egregious misconduct that justifies firing an employee for cause.

The Case: Unpacking the Details

Lefebvre was hired on an 18-month contract to cover a parental leave but was fired six weeks into the job due to the content and tone of an email she sent, which was deemed objectionable. The company argued that the email caused an irreconcilable breakdown in the employment relationship, leading to Lefebvre’s termination.

However, the court decision highlighted that there was no record of Lefebvre being disciplined prior to her firing, and the company’s failure to follow its own progressive discipline policy was noted as a factor suggesting that Gisborne’s response to the email was not proportionate.

The Outcome: An Award of Compensation

The judge ultimately concluded that the email did not amount to egregious misconduct, as required for a worker to be fired for cause. As a result, Lefebvre was awarded $81,100 in compensation, reflecting what she would have earned if she had completed the full term of her contract. The court, however, declined to award punitive damages, as it did not find the company’s actions to be reprehensible.

A Thought-Provoking Conclusion

The case of Kavita Lefebvre raises thought-provoking questions about the threshold for justifying the termination of an employee for cause. It prompts a closer examination of the expectations for employer-employee relationships and the role of progressive discipline policies in addressing workplace conflicts. As workplaces continue to evolve, the outcome of cases like this one may have far-reaching implications for how employment disputes are handled and what constitutes grounds for dismissal.



Reference

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