By Matt Lalande in Employment Law on January 10, 2020
Job Abandonment is when an employee is absent from work without authorization or explanation – if this happens then the employer may be able to treat employment as at an end. Whether doing so is defensible depends on your employer properly building a case of abandonment.
Cases of abandonment involve unauthorized and unexplained employee absences. Scenarios that may give rise to abandonment include:
– An employee has left work due to an illness or injury but has not maintained contact with the employer to explain a continuing absence.
– An employee has gone through a traumatic event in her personal life (such as the death of a family member or loss of a home in a natural disaster) and failed to return to work.
– An employee has failed to return to work after approved vacation, essentially extending the absence into a prolonged, unapproved leave.
– An employee has relocated and failed to attend work at her original work location.
Where the employee persistently refuses to attend work or explain her absence, abandonment can in fact be asserted by the employer to end employment. The separation of the parties is treated like a resignation. Because the employee is treated as the party ending employment, the employer does not owe notice, pay in lieu of notice or severance pay unless required by contract.
Abandonment can also be raised by the employer as a defence in a wrongful dismissal or human rights claim by an employee. Where the employee claims to have been dismissed without adequate notice or for improper reasons, the employer argues that it was the employee who ended employment through a prolonged absence without justification.