Very stupid. But a firable offence? Not IMO
You have to apply employment law on termination and wrongful dismissal as it exists in Massachusetts which is an "employee-at-will" state. Employees can be terminated for pretty much any reason with or without notice unless there is a collective agreement or a specific employment contract.
Although it seems almost impossible to believe, employers in Massachusetts, or in any other employee-at-will state, can fire any employee at any time for any reason — or even for no reason at all. An employer can terminate any employee, with or without notice.
Being an employee-at-will means working without a specified end date of employment. This allows both the employer and the employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time.
Otherwise, the employer-employee relationship is lopsided, clearly tilted in the employer's favor.
Union workers are protected according to the terms of their individual contracts. ''While collective bargaining agreements vary, most require that the employer engage in progressive discipline, for all but the most serious offenses,'' said Marc Greenbaum, professor of law at Suffolk University in Boston. Also, union workers can take advantage of grievance arbitration as needed.
An exception to this general rule would be if an employee was terminated on what would be considered a discriminatory ground such as a protected class, based on age (over 40), disability, race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexual orientation.
Acting like a complete and utter idiot would not put an employee in such a protected class.
In BC (absent a CBA or employment contract) an employer can fire any employee for "cause" without and terminate any employee for any reason with notice or paying salary equivalent to notice or a combination of the two according to the employee's length of service.
The B.C. Employment Standards Act does not remove an employer’s right to terminate an employee. The Act requires that employees who are terminated receive written notice or compensation based on length of service.
An employee who is terminated may be eligible for compensation based on the following formula:
- After three consecutive months of employment – one week’s pay;
- After 12 consecutive months of employment – two weeks’ pay;
- After three consecutive years – three weeks’ pay, plus one week’s pay for each additional year of employment to a maximum of eight weeks.
A week’s pay is calculated by:
- Totalling the employee’s wages, excluding overtime, earned in the last eight weeks in which the employee worked normal or average hours; and
- Dividing the total by eight.
The sale, lease or transfer of a business does not typically interrupt an employee’s period of continuous employment unless the employee has been terminated by the vendor employer.
No compensation required with working notice
No compensation is required if an employee is given advance written notice of termination equal to the number of weeks for which the employee is eligible. This notice must be in writing.
An employee can also be given a combination of written notice and compensation equal to the number of weeks of pay for which the employee is eligible.
An employee must be able to work during the notice period. If an employee is on vacation, leave, temporary layoff, strike or lockout, or unavailable for work due to medical reasons during the notice period, the employer must either suspend the notice period until the employee returns to work or pay that employee compensation in lieu of notice.
If employment continues after the notice period ends, the notice is of no effect.
Once written notice has been given, the employer may not alter any condition of employment, including the wage rate, without the employee’s written consent.
No notice or compensation required
Notice or compensation is not required if:
- The employee has not completed three consecutive months of employment;
- The employee quits or retires;
- The employee is dismissed for just cause (see “Just Cause” factsheet);
- The employee works on an on-call basis doing temporary assignments, which he or she can accept or reject;
- The employee is employed for a definite term;
- The employee is hired for specific work to be completed in 12 months or less;
- It is impossible to perform the work because of some unforeseeable event or circumstance (other than bankruptcy, receivership or insolvency);
- An employer whose principal business is construction employs the employee at one or more construction sites;
- The employee refuses reasonable alternative employment;
- The employee is a teacher employed by a board of school trustees.
If a definite term or specific work is extended for at least three months past its scheduled completion, the definite term and specific work exceptions described above do not apply.
And what is just cause?The Employer’s Right to Fire
An employer has the legal right to terminate an employee. The Act does not affect this right. It does requires that an employer who wishes to terminate an employee must give the employee an appropriate amount of written working notice, compensation in lieu of such notice, or a combination of the two. What is appropriate is determined according to the employee’s length of service. For this reason the Act refers to compensation paid in lieu of notice as “compensation for length of service.” More information is available in the factsheet Termination of Employment.
An employer does not have to give written notice or compensation for length of service to an employee who is dismissed for “just cause.”Burden of Proof
In order to be relieved of the requirement to give written notice or to pay compensation for length of service upon terminating an employee, the onus is on the employer to prove that just cause for termination exists.What Constitutes Just Cause?
Following are some examples of what may constitute just cause:
- Fraud and dishonesty;
- Assault or harassment of co-workers;
- Breach of duty;
- Serious wilful misconduct;
- Conflict of interest, especially if it involves provable loss to the employer;
- Serious breach of company rules or practices;
- Serious undermining of the corporate culture;
- Chronic absenteeism or tardiness;
- Unsatisfactory performance.
Serious infractions which involve things like theft, fraud, dishonesty, conflict of interest or wilful misconduct may require only one provable incident to justify dismissal without written notice or compensation for length of service.
The extent to which employment misconduct constitutes just cause must be considered on a case-by-case basis. One test is whether it can be said that the employee behaved in a manner totally inconsistent with the continuation of employment.
Wilful misconduct can be defined as a situation where the employee knew what to do and did not do it, or knew what not to do and deliberately did it.
A mistake or error in judgment, especially if due to inexperience or lack of training, is not wilful misconduct.Other Circumstances
Unsatisfactory performance, or instances of minor misconduct such as absenteeism or tardiness do not normally relieve an employer of the requirement to give written notice or to pay compensation for length of service when terminating an employee.
Where an employer seeks to rely on unsatisfactory performance or instances of minor misconduct to prove just cause, it must show that:
- A reasonable standard of performance was established and communicated to the employee;
- The employee was clearly warned that his or her performance was below the established standard and that continued failure to meet the standard would result in dismissal;
- The employee was given a reasonable amount of time to meet the required standard of performance; and
- The employee still failed to meet the standard.
Where the dismissal is related to the inability of the employee to meet the requirements of the job, and not to any misconduct, the employer must be able to show that reasonable efforts were made (e.g. additional training or supervision) to assist the employee to meet the expectation.Condoning Unsatisfactory Performance or Behaviour
The employer must consistently apply company rules or practices. The employer cannot argue just cause if an employee is terminated for misconduct the employer has excused in the past, or that it permits in other employees.
If an employer has forgiven misconduct, or if it has failed to take action, it cannot later use that misconduct to prove just cause. In order to be relied on as proof of just cause, serious misconduct must result in dismissal at the time, or within a reasonable amount of time after an employer has conducted an investigation.http://www.labour.go...ts/justcaus.htm