Settling up: the need for specificity in employee releases

June 07, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess and Kyle Cadieux

An employer in Canada would be forgiven for thinking that a release of liability related to employment would protect it from all future claims by that employee. However, a recent Alberta Human Rights Tribunal decision, Hutton v. ARC Business Solutions Inc., 2015 AHRC 7, suggests that the matter is not that simple. read more…

Case signals lower threshold for mental distress when cause allegation fails

May 31, 2015 - by: Thora Sigurdson 0 COMMENTS

By Thora Sigurdson

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently awarded damages for mental distress in the context of a termination for cause. The decision in George v. Cowichan Tribes signals that it may be easier to establish such a claim when there is a just cause allegation that fails, compared with terminations without cause. It confirms that employers in Canada need to be very careful when alleging cause. read more…

The case for cause with a single act of employee misconduct

May 03, 2015 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

The Supreme Court of Canada tells Canadian employers that they must strike a balance between the severity of the misconduct and the sanction imposed when deciding whether to terminate employment for cause. So what happens when the misconduct is a single act? Can that justify termination for cause? According to the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, the answer is yes. read more…

Transferred employee’s wrongful dismissal suit lands in New York court

April 19, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Bonny Mak Waterfall and Rachel Younan

When a Canadian employer transfers its employee to a non-Canadian entity, is it still on the hook for wrongful dismissal damages? Recently, an Ontario court declined to hear a civil action claiming wrongful dismissal damages from an employee who was transferred to a United States subsidiary of a Canadian company. However, the judgment left open the possibility that different facts may lead to a different result. read more…

A slo-pitch: Playing baseball when ‘sick’ = cause for termination

March 29, 2015 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess

Unexpected employee absences from work can be difficult for employers. Customer service may be compromised. Others’ jobs need to be adjusted. And an employer’s trust in the employee can be damaged. So can an employer terminate an employee for lying about the reason for an absence? read more…

Dishonesty: When can you fire someone for it?

February 01, 2015 - by: Lindsey Taylor 0 COMMENTS

by Lindsey Taylor

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently reaffirmed that dishonest conduct may be just cause for dismissal without notice. Or it may not. To determine if it is just cause, the conduct must be assessed looking at the whole context of the employment relationship. read more…

Google: not a replacement for individualized accommodation

January 25, 2015 - by: Megan Rolland 0 COMMENTS

by Megan Rolland

It may be convenient and easy to use, but you cannot find the answer to everything on the Internet. As one Canadian employer recently learned, Google research on a medical condition is not a proper substitute for individualized accommodation. read more…

Commissions during the notice period: contractual language rules

January 04, 2015 - by: Thora Sigurdson 0 COMMENTS

By Thora A. Sigurdson

In Sciancamerli v. Comtech (Communication Technologies) Ltd., 2014 BCSC 2140, a specialized salesperson was terminated without cause after 10 months’ service. He sued for wrongful dismissal. At trial, the main issues were the length of notice for a short-term salesperson and his entitlement, if any, to commission payments during the notice period. This case is a reminder to Canadian employers of the importance of carefully drafted language in employment contracts. read more…

Staggering cost of ‘no cause’ finding: Employer pays employee LTD benefits to age 65

December 28, 2014 - by: Katherine Pollock 2 COMMENTS

By Katherine Pollock

The Ontario Superior Court decision in Fernandes v. Peel Educational, 2014 ONSC 6506, reminds employers in Canada of how badly matters can go awry when a decision on the merits of a cause case is taken out of the hands of the parties and left in the hands of a third party judge. read more…

Termination clause as a ticking time bomb: Are courts in Ontario changing approach?

November 16, 2014 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

by Marc Rodrigue

To the chagrin of many employers in Canada, the courts have made the drafting and enforcement of termination provisions in an employment contract challenging. In recent years, case law in Ontario has been particularly harsh in striking down termination provisions that may be contrary to the statutory provisions of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in some circumstances but not others (e.g., entitlements meet the requirements for the first five years of employment but not thereafter).

A recent case in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ford v. Keegan, 2014 ONSC 4989, provides some indication that the court in Ontario has not fully settled on when striking a termination clause is appropriate. As opposed to the treatment of termination clauses in other cases, the court in this case indicated that a termination clause, so long as it meets the ESA minimums at the time an employee is dismissed, should be enforced. read more…

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