Extraordinary damages not automatic in ‘cause’ cases

November 27, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

In Canada, courts can award two extraordinary forms of damages in a wrongful dismissal action: aggravated damages or punitive damages. In a wrongful dismissal action, employees who are terminated for cause often claim that they should be awarded aggravated and/or punitive damages in addition to reasonable notice damages.

In a recent decision of interest to employers in Canada, Smith v. Pacific Coast Terminals Co. Ltd., 2016 BCSC 1876, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that these types of damages will not be awarded simply because an employer continues to assert it has cause for termination at trial.

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Discharged employees must prove lack of comparable jobs

November 13, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

Where an employee has been dismissed from a job without sufficient notice, he or she may look to his or her former employer for compensation for any losses suffered. However, the employee has a corresponding duty to try to limit any such losses by looking for comparable employment. A failure to act reasonably in this regard could have a significant impact on any claim the employee might have against the employer.

Not surprisingly given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, dismissed employees often claim that there are no comparable jobs available and hence the reason they have not managed to secure other employment within the notice period. In Munoz v. Sierra Systems Group Inc., 2016 BCCA 140, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled that where this argument is advanced, it is up to the employee to prove it.

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Can employer use subjective criteria to evaluate workers during probationary period?

July 24, 2016 - by: Paul Cote-Lepine 0 COMMENTS

by Paul Côté-Lépine

There is sometimes uncertainty surrounding the proper scope of evaluation for a probationary employee. Is an employer limited to relying on neutral, objective criteria, or can the employer also consider subjective criteria? According to a Quebec arbitrator in Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal (SCFP, section locale 301) c. Montréal (Ville de), an employer is entitled to take into account subjective criteria. read more…

Quebec court upholds cause termination of employee for a single incident of theft

April 17, 2016 - by: Marie-Eve Gagnon 0 COMMENTS

by Marie-Ève Gagnon

Theft of merchandise by employees continues to be a recurring and costly problem for Canadian employers. The courts, however, do acknowledge the seriousness of the issue. Dismissal is often found to be an appropriate disciplinary response regardless of the value of the items stolen or whether the theft is repeated—unless mitigating factors are present that would justify a lesser penalty. read more…

Further clarification on ‘unjust’ dismissals

December 06, 2015 - by: Louise Bechamp 0 COMMENTS

By Louise Béchamp

As we reported previously, employers in Canada’s federal sector have had the right to dismiss employees without cause with one caveat. Only if the dismissal was not “unjust” within the meaning of section 240 of the Canada Labour Code. In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal determined that a termination without cause was not automatically unjust. The court, however, refrained from setting out a definition of unjust, instead indicating that it would leave it up to adjudicators appointed under the Canada Labour Code to develop its meaning.

In a recent decision, Bernier v. Traversiers Bourbonnais Inc. (available in French only), an adjudicator appointed under the Canada Labour Code has now clarified what an “unjust” dismissal is. read more…

How ‘come back to work’ doesn’t always work: offers of re-employment to former employees

October 18, 2015 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

In Canada, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia recently issued a decision narrowing the possibility for employers to use re-employment offers to support an argument that an estranged employee has failed to mitigate damages by refusing to come back to work. read more…

Not all changes equal constructive dismissal

July 05, 2015 - by: Mathias Link 0 COMMENTS

by Mathias Link

Employers throughout Canada find it challenging to anticipate exactly when a particular unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment will be a breach of the employment contract, and thus a constructive dismissal, or whether the change will be reasonable such that an employee is obligated to accept the change or changes. read more…

When is a suspension not a suspension? When it’s a constructive dismissal

April 05, 2015 - by: David Wong 0 COMMENTS

by David G. Wong

When is a suspension not a suspension? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. However, in a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Canada explained that in certain circumstances a suspension will be deemed to be a termination. read more…

Refusing to collaborate in harassment investigation can be grounds for dismissal

March 22, 2015 - by: Olivier Lamoureux 0 COMMENTS

By Olivier Lamoureux

In Séguin v. Dessau Inc., a tribunal, the Commission des relations du travail (CRT), upheld the dismissal of an employee who had behaved in a vexatious manner toward a subordinate he was enamored with. The dismissed employee had refused to collaborate in the employer’s investigation into an incident of psychological harassment. read more…

Federal sector employers have right to dismiss without cause, too

February 22, 2015 - by: Bonny Mak Waterfall 0 COMMENTS

by Bonny Mak Waterfall

There’s good news for Canadian employers in the federal sector—those engaged in federal works and undertakings such as airlines, airports, railways, banking, interprovincial transportation, and telecommunications. For many years, employers in Canada’s federal sector understood that they did not have the right to dismiss employees without cause unless such termination was due to lack of work or discontinuance of a function. The Federal Court of Appeal recently rejected this view in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. read more…

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