“Near Cause” – Reason for Reducing Notice?

  Most know the difference between “just cause” and “without cause”, and their implications for notice and severance. If an employer has just cause to terminate an employee, that employee is entitled to pay up to the date of termination, and nothing more. If the dismissal is without cause, however, the employer must provide notice to the employee or payment in lieu. But what about situations that fall somewhere in the middle, where an employee’s misconduct is not quite severe enough to warrant dismissal? Can the employer provide the employee with less notice to account for that misconduct? The short answer is No: an employer cannot rely on “near cause” to reduce the amount of notice required when terminating an employee. The “near cause” doctrine is the principle that an employer may reduce the amount of notice given, or severance owed to an employee when dismissing him or her for misconduct that did not quite warrant…

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