Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the key provisions of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code?

The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (the Code) applies to businesses employing fewer than 15 employees. Small business employers must comply with the Code when initiating a dismissal of any employees.

An employer can dismiss an employee without notice in cases of serious misconduct: such as theft; fraud; violence; or serious breaches of occupational health and safety procedures. The employer must have reasonable grounds for believing that serious misconduct has occurred.

In other cases, the employer must give the employee a valid reason why he or she is at risk of dismissal. The reason must relate to the employee's conduct or an employee's capacity to perform the work required. The employee has a right to receive a warning that they are at risk of being dismissed if there is no improvement and must also be given opportunity to respond to the warning, and a reasonable opportunity to rectify the problem. Rectification may include additional training provided by the employer, and ensuring the employee understands the employer's job expectations.

In addition, employees are entitled to have another person present to assist them in any discussions where dismissal is a possibility. However, the support person cannot be a lawyer.

Small business employers must be able to provide evidence of their compliance with the Code if the employee subsequently makes a claim for unfair dismissal.


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