What would happen if an employee abandoned their job in Ontario?

What would happen if an employee abandoned their job in Ontario?

Employment abandonment is when an employee is consistently absent and fails to complete their responsibilities to the extent where the employer could then infer, the employee has resigned from their job. The employee would fail to provide notice, and the termination of the employment contract could be implied based on the actions of the employee.

For example, an employee’s parent gets sick, and they go on family caregiver leave. The employee knows they have an eight-week period to take care of their sick parent, before they must return to work. It has now been twelve weeks and the employee has not returned to work or discussed an extension with their employer. The employer, not receiving word from their employee, could infer and decide to argue that because of their four-week absence, the employee has abandoned their employment.

Before the employer can terminate the employee, they must try and reach out to the employee to give them the chance to explain their absence. The employer must also provide warnings in written format before making any final judgements.

As an employer, it is important to note there are no specific number of absences that distinctly indicates the employee has abandoned their job. To prove employment abandonment to the court, the employer would need to provide evidence that a reasonable person would conclude the employee’s actions and absences indicate they want to resign.

Once the employer reasonably believes an employee abandoned their job, the employer can terminate their employment with cause. When an employer terminates with cause, the employee is no longer entitled to receive termination notice, severance, or compensation for their absent hours before dismissal.

Further, when an employee abandons their job, it is considered legally the same thing as a voluntary resignation. The resignation will be documented on the employee’s Record of Employment (ROE), and as a result, they will no longer be entitled to receive Employment Insurance (EI). EI is beneficial to an employee because it provides the employee income while they try and find a new job.

If you are an employee who allegedly abandoned their employment or an employer who wants to prove an employee abandoned their job, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.