A Calgary judge has ruled a company did nothing wrong when it fired an employee for bringing a prostitute to its downtown office after hours.
Jim Whitehouse worked as a broker with RBC Dominion Securities in Calgary until 2004, when he was fired. He sued his former employer for wrongful dismissal and the company counter-sued for $6 million, saying Whitehouse had hurt the company's reputation.
A judge has thrown both cases out, upholding Whitehouse's dismissal.
The case was being closely watched by the business community as the outcome may be precedent setting.
The man's lawyer, Gabor Zinner, said Tuesday his client is disappointed with the ruling and already planning an appeal. One possible avenue is that the company didn't punish Whitehouse for bringing prostitutes into the office until the day he was fired, said Zinner.
"And if the employer chooses not to do anything about it, not to reprimand, not to discipline the employee, then that amounts to condonation … and where there is condonation then the employer can not summarily dismiss without first giving him a warning," he said.
The case will be heard in the Alberta Court of Appeal later this year.
Since his dismissal, Whitehouse has been hired by a competing brokerage and his lawyer says he has successfully rebuilt his business.
Whitehouse was earning $424,000 a year before he lost his job after 16 years with the firm.
The disgraced broker was fired after his bosses learned that he brought a prostitute up to his office late one night. The woman brought the matter to their attention after turning up the next morning demanding payment from Whitehouse.
The woman alleges that Whitehouse refused to pay her $200 fee.
Whitehouse admitted his actions were inappropriate but says the manner in which he was laid off was offensive and damaging to his career. Court heard that he was escorted from the office after a terse five-minute meeting.