Last-Straw Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

The last straw doctrine is a principle applicable to Employment law. The employer can rely on the doctrine for terminating an employee, where the termination is justified by a series of incidents of poor performance, followed by a final incident showing a blatant disregard for the employer's interests. Likewise an employee can resign in response to a series of breaches of contract or a course of conduct by the employer which overall amounts to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence, even if the final incident is actually not substantial. An employee may end up resigning over a relatively minor incident, but which is the "last straw" in a series of incidents. Although the final straw may be relatively insignificant, it must not be utterly trivial. An entirely innocuous act on the part of the employer cannot be a final straw, even if the employee genuinely, but mistakenly, interprets the act as hurtful and destructive of their trust and confidence in their employer.