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Can I let go of an employee who is on maternity leave?

By Howard Levitt |

Bob asked:

We have an employee who is on maternity leave until September and during her maternity absence, we discovered that she had:
Disrupted other staff when she was here; not done her job properly; and not completed assigned tasks, etc.

She was with us for 18 months before maternity. How do I lay her off permanently the minute she wishes to return while avoiding as much repercussion as possible? I know that I will need to pay her out but what other ducks do I need to have in order to avoid a mess?

Howard Levitt answered:

You don't. You didn't catch her stealing. She has an absolute right to reinstatement and the employment standards branch will be highly skeptical of claims that you only learned of these things after she left. You will end up with an order of reinstatement and substantial damages.

Your best course is to provide her a stiff warning upon her return and then fire her if it recurs. Even that must be crafted carefully and with expert legal advice.

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