Extraordinary damages not automatic in ‘cause’ cases

November 27, 2016 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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The case for cause with a single act of employee misconduct

May 03, 2015 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…

It’s not a settlement when the parties can’t agree on what they agreed to

October 05, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Christina Hall

It is usually good news for employers and employees if they are able to resolve an employment dispute and reach a settlement before engaging in protracted litigation. However, finalizing the details of a settlement can be a tedious process. When the parties rush through the process or fail to properly consider the terms of the settlement, the situation can rapidly unravel. read more…

Employer obtains injunction to prevent misuse of its confidential information

September 07, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

When an employee announces that he or she is resigning in order to go work for a competitor, it is only natural for an employer to become anxious—particularly when the departing employee has access to the business’s confidential information. Complicating matters further is the technological ease with which an employee can wrongfully divert an employer’s confidential information if he or she wishes to do so. read more…

Can you keep a secret? Court upholds termination for breach of confidentiality

January 26, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Hannah Roskey

When will an employee’s breach of confidence justify immediate dismissal under Canadian law? A recent decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court demonstrates that clearly drafted employer policies intended to protect confidential information can indeed be strictly enforced. In Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, the court upheld the dismissal of a 20-year employee for cause in response to her breach of confidentiality and privacy policies. read more…