Workplace Investigations

Peoples v Ontario 2008

A similar conclusion was reached in a 2008 decision in Ontario, again due to an unfair investigation of a workplace dispute. 1

The trial judge found that the investigation was unfair for the following reasons:

At the very least, in these circumstances, I would have expected that the Ministry would have:

(a)               reviewed with the plaintiff the findings of the investigator and have afforded the plaintiff an opportunity to respond;

(b)               granted an option to the plaintiff to address the perceived shortcomings of her management style, including the offer to have the plaintiff take courses and training to upgrade her management skills;

(c)               followed a generally progressive disciplinary approach;

(d)               awaited the outcome of the plaintiff’s grievance process before taking further action; and

(e)               considered other possible employment options for the plaintiff within the provincial government, either immediately or following any educational or managerial upgrading the plaintiff might have undertaken.

For these reasons, a breach of the duty of good faith was found and, in accordance with the then law, extended the 24 month notice award by a further 4 months. Today, this would support an award of aggravated damages as opposed to a notice extension.