‘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.

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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…

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…

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