To enforce or not to enforce ESA-only termination clauses: That is the question!

April 16, 2017 - by: Sophie Arseneault 0 COMMENTS

by Sophie Arseneault

Employers celebrated the January 2017 decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Cook v. Hatch upholding a termination clause that did not speak to statutory severance pay or the requirement to maintain health benefits during the statutory notice period. A month later, employers were left scratching their heads once again when the Court of Appeal for Ontario (ONCA) responded with its decision in Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd, 2017 ONCA 158, overturning a motion judge’s ruling refusing to invalidate a very similar provision.

Cook v. Hatch

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Seasonal employee not bound by noncompetition clause

March 26, 2017 - by: Matthew Larsen 0 COMMENTS

by Matthew Larsen

A British Columbia court recently explored a novel issue – whether a noncompetition clause is enforceable against a seasonal employee.

Facts

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Taking the high road: Marijuana at work could trigger obligations to question

January 22, 2017 - by: Cory Sully 0 COMMENTS

by Cory Sully

While access to medical marijuana has increased in Canada over the last few years, the consumption of medical marijuana has arguably become less taboo with the new Trudeau government’s pledge to eventually legalize and regulate this substance.

In the summer of 2016, the government made the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which allows individuals to legally consume marijuana for medical purposes if they meet certain criteria. The ACMPR is designed to allow individuals to access and use marijuana, notably by producing their own cannabis or designating someone to do so for them.

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Alberta Court of Appeal helps employers ring in the New Year in Style(s)

January 15, 2017 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess

The Alberta Court of Appeal has released its first decision of 2017Styles v. Alberta Investment Management Corporation, 2017 ABCA 1and it is undoubtedly welcome news (and a nice gift) to employers.

The issue of whether or not a dismissed employee is entitled to bonus compensation during the period of reasonable notice has been a hot topic as of late. In Styles, the Alberta Court of Appeal weighed in and concluded that (1) in the event of a without-cause termination, an employer is not obligated to provide the employee with reasons for the termination; and (2) employees are not entitled to bonus payouts where they have not met the contractual preconditions. Suffice it to say, Styles looks to be ringing in a better 2017 for employers.

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No mention of severance pay or benefit continuation … No worries! Termination provision enforceable nonetheless!

November 20, 2016 - by: Rachel Younan 0 COMMENTS

by Rachel Younan

Recent case law has overwhelmingly rejected termination clauses that purport to limit an employee’s entitlements upon termination to the minimum notice required by applicable employment standards legislation. In Ontario, provisions that have failed to reference severance pay and/or benefit continuation have been found to be invalid, resulting in common law notice that far exceeds the intended contractual entitlement. The 2015 Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Oudin v. Le Centre Francophone de Toronto, 2015 ONSC 6494, diverged from that case law and, this summer, was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal, 2016 ONCA 514.

Facts

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‘You must be actively employed to receive bonus’—or not, says Ontario court

October 02, 2016 - by: Shane Todd 0 COMMENTS

by Shane Todd

In an attempt to their limit severance exposure, employers often require that an employee be “actively employed” on the bonus payment date in order to be eligible to earn a bonus. The idea being that the severance payable to a dismissed employee would not have to take into account an employee’s bonus earnings as the employee would not be able to satisfy the “active employment” requirement contained in the applicable bonus plan. However, as the Court of Appeal for Ontario recently confirmed in Paquette v. TeraGo Networks Inc., 2016 ONCA 618, “active employment” requirements are insufficient to remove or limit a dismissed employee’s rights.

What happened

Trevor Paquette was employed by TeraGo Networks for 14 years. He earned a base salary and was eligible for an annual bonus. The bonus plan required Paquette to be “actively employed” at the time the bonus was paid in order to receive it. In November 2014, Paquette was terminated without cause. The parties could not agree on a severance package and so Paquette sued TeraGo for wrongful dismissal. read more…

Nonunionized federal employees in Canada insulated from without-cause dismissals

August 07, 2016 - by: Christopher Pigott 0 COMMENTS

by Christopher Pigott

A sharply divided Supreme Court of Canada recently overruled the Federal Court of Appeal and held that, subject to narrow exceptions, federal employers are not entitled to terminate nonunionized employees without cause (Wilson v. AECL). This prohibition applies even if the employer is willing to provide generous notice and severance pay. read more…

Early termination of fixed-term contract proves costly

July 17, 2016 - by: Jacqueline Gant 0 COMMENTS

by Jacqueline Gant

The highest court in Ontario recently ordered an employer to pay out a whopping three years of compensation to a 23-month employee terminated without cause. The employee was entitled to his full salary and benefits for the remainder of the five-year fixed-term employment contract. The contract did not clearly say otherwise. In Howard v. Benson Group Inc., this meant the employer had to pay over $200,000 in damages. read more…

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…

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