Damages for wrongful dismissal: Who must prove what?

June 05, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

As noted in past articles here, Canadian employees can sue for lack of adequate notice of termination. Fired employees seeking damages for inadequate notice have a corresponding duty to mitigate or minimize any resulting losses. If other work is available, their losses may be minimal. Employees frequently claim a lack of available work. But who must prove what?

In a recent decision, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that where lack of work is claimed, the employee must prove it. It is not up to the employer to prove the opposite. read more…

Sleep much? Board finds that dozing off on the job is not willful misconduct

April 24, 2016 - by: Avneet Jaswal 0 COMMENTS

by Avneet Jaswal

Can an employer terminate an employee for sleeping on the job on multiple occasions? The Ontario Labour Relations Board concluded that such behavior may give rise to just cause for dismissal. Can sleeping on the job amount to “willful misconduct” eliminating the employer’s obligation to pay statutory notice and severance amounts? Well, that depends. read more…

It’s not you, it’s the economy: making difficult employment decisions during a downturn

April 10, 2016 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess and Claire Himsl

In the face of an economic downturn, some employers across Canada are being forced to tighten their belts and make hard choices about workforce downsizing. However, what may initially begin as a cost-cutting exercise can quickly turn into a legal quagmire if the process is not executed properly and with sufficient advance planning. read more…

‘You’re fired’—for watching TV too much

March 27, 2016 - by: Sophie Arseneault 0 COMMENTS

by Sophie Arseneault

Canadian employment law does not recognize “at will” employment. An employer requires “just cause” to terminate someone without severance pay. Can you have a just cause termination for a 26-year employee with a previously clean employment record? read more…

‘Poor’ employer’s termination obligation not reduced

February 07, 2016 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

There has been some controversy in Canadian law on the issue of whether the financial circumstances of the employer should play a role in deciding what constitutes reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice. Since multiple factors go into deciding what’s reasonable in many circumstances, why not this one?

This controversy was recently resolved by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Michela v. St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic School. The court overturned a lower court ruling that had reduced the normal, reasonable notice period because of the poor financial position of the employer that had to terminate the employees. The appeal court found that this was not a relevant factor.

read more…

An abbreviated case for cause

January 24, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

We all know litigation is expensive. That’s particularly true when an employer seeks to justify a for-cause termination. But there may be an alternative to protracted litigation. In Cotter v. Point Grey Golf and Country Club, the British Columbia Supreme Court proceeded in an abbreviated way. It recently allowed a for-cause termination matter to proceed by a short summary trial, saving the employer thousands of dollars in legal fees. And the result was great, too. The court confirmed that the employer had cause to terminate. read more…

B.C. Court of Appeal addresses termination and severance issues

December 13, 2015 - by: Kevin O'Neill 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin O’Neill, Q.C.

In Canada, in Hall v. Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc., 2015 BCCA 291, the British Columbia Court of Appeal addressed two important termination and severance issues:

1. In the sale of a business, when and how do an employee’s years of service continue to bind the purchaser?
2. What is the proper severance for a “skilled services” employee (not senior management) with 8.5 months of service? read more…

Employee fired for expressing political views at work wins reinstatement and damages

November 01, 2015 - by: Louise Bechamp 0 COMMENTS

by Louise Béchamp

With a Canadian federal election recently behind us, it is safe to say that politics has been a hot topic of discussion in some Canadian workplaces. A Quebec employer was recently reminded, at significant cost, that employees are entitled to express their political opinions at work and may not be fired for doing so. read more…

Sharing the pain: Do economic conditions count?

September 20, 2015 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

Does a poor economy mean a shorter reasonable notice period? Canadian employers often ask this question—particularly in cyclical industries.

When assessing reasonable notice, courts will consider the employee’s position and responsibilities, length of service, age, and the availability of similar employment. Not only has it been unusual for courts to consider negative economic conditions as a factor justifying a reduced notice period, this has typically been used to lengthen the notice period in favor of the employee.

However, there are two cases from the past year—one from Ontario and one from Alberta—where the court was prepared to give the employer some credit for the economic situation it found itself in. read more…

Not all relapses are created equal

July 12, 2015 - by: Stephanie Gutierrez 0 COMMENTS

by Stephanie Gutierrez

An addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is considered a disability in Canada. As such, employers in Canada often enter into last chance agreements with employees suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. But does a last chance agreement always mean it’s the employee’s “last chance”? Not necessarily. read more…

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