A story which caught my eye over the last few days comes from the fair Canadian City of Toronto and involves misconduct dismissals. For a change, the dismissals do not involve social media misuse, but rather good old fashioned fraud.
150 members of staff working at a Toronto hospital were sacked for involvement in a sophisticated prescription fraud which was reportedly in the region of £3 million over an 8 year period. Defrauding your employer is, of course, an extremely serious breach of trust which materially undermines the contract of employment.
Interestingly, at this point, the Police in Toronto have not charged any individual with the crime of fraud – yet – but clearly the employer feels that it has sufficient grounds to go ahead with the dismissals.
I often to say to students that the employer merely has to have a reasonable suspicion that the employee has committed an act of misconduct. There is no need for the employer to demonstrate that the allegation(s) of misconduct meets the criminal standard of proof.
A link to the story on the Sky News website can be found below:
Had this story occurred in the UK, we would be talking about the matter in the context of Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. If employers can show that the reason for the dismissal of employees is justified i.e. on the grounds of misconduct (fraud), it will be a fair dismissal. As a point of good disciplinary policy, of course, employers should always follow the proper procedures when deciding to dismiss employees on the grounds of dismissal.
Copyright Seán J Crossan, 13 July 2019