Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Dismissal Definition:

An employer's decision to terminate a contract of employment.

Related Terms: Wrongful Dismissal, Unfair Dismissal, Wrongful Termination, Wrongful Discharge

In Finn v City of St. John's, Justice Pudester of the Newfoundland Supreme Court adopted these words:

"... to dismiss is defined ... as to remove, especially with dishonour, from a post or employment. For our purposes the only further qualification which needs to be made is to note that the removal is something visited upon the employee by the employer. This will serve to distinguish the concept of dismissal from that of an employee's removing herself or himself voluntarily....

"Dismissal is not itself defined or restricted in the legislation, and is broad enough in its ordinary context to include employer-imposed termination for any reason, not just a reason personal to the employee."

dismissal noticeIn Re Rubel, Justice McCardie wrote:

"Dismissal may be effected by conduct as well as words. A man may dismiss his servant if he refused by word or conduct to allow the servant to fulfil his contract of enployment (sic). The refusal must of course be substantial in the sense that it is not a mere repudiation of some minor rights of the servant or of non-vital provisions of the contract of employment. The question is ever one of degree. If the conduct of the employer amounts to a basic refusal to continue the servant on the agreed terms of the employment, then there is at once a wrongful dismissal and a repudiation of the contract."


  • Finn v. City of St. John's, 6 C.C.E.L. (3d) 1 (1999)
  • Re Rubel Bronze & Metal Co. and Vos, [1918] 1 K.B. 315

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