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Summary Dismissal for Accessing Confidential Document Stands
September 21, 2015
Author(s): Erin S. White

On September 17, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a terminated employee’s application for leave to appeal. In the underlying decision (discussed in an earlier article posted here), the BC Court of Appeal upheld the summary dismissal of a Helpdesk Analyst employed in a credit union’s IT department. The employee had been caught accessing a confidential document stored on the employer’s computer system.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was important for employers because it confirmed that a single act of employee misconduct may justify summary dismissal if it causes the irreparable breakdown of the employment relationship. With the refusal by the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal from that decision, the Court of Appeal’s analysis stands as good law.

A copy of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union can be found here.

Questions relating to the content of the article may be directed to Matthew Cooperwilliams.