Ontario court awards 3 types of damages in sexual harassment case

March 12, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

An employee who was repeatedly sexually harassed by her coworker sued her employer after being terminated. In addition to normal damages for wrongful dismissal she was awarded $60,000 for “moral damages” by the trial judge, plus damages for the employer’s violation of human rights laws.

In Doyle v. Zochem Inc., 2017 ONCA 130, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld this award and dismissed the employer’s appeal. This decision is a stark reminder of the importance of properly investigating employee complaints. It also confirms that moral damages and damages under human rights laws may both be awarded to an employee, without being characterized as “double dipping.”

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Early termination of fixed-term contract proves costly

July 17, 2016 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…

When do employees have a duty to mitigate termination claim?

August 26, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

It has been a fundamental principle of employment law that terminated employees generally have an obligation to seek alternate employment to minimize or mitigate their resulting losses. Their right to get from the terminating employer the pay they would have received during a period of reasonable notice is usually net of any other earnings during that period. But does this same rule apply where a contract specifies the employee’s severance entitlement?

In an important recent decision, Bowes v. Goss Power Products Ltd., the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that the duty to mitigate does not, in fact, apply where employment contracts contain specific termination payments and the employment relationship is terminated without cause. This is important because Canadian law on this point has been mixed. read more…

Notice of Termination: Must Be Clear, No Distinction for Unskilled Workers

October 16, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Keri Bennett

Historically, the character of employment or level of position has been an important factor in determining appropriate severance payments in Canada. Unskilled or lower-level employees have typically been entitled to less severance than more highly skilled and higher-level employees.

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Decisionmaking in Employer Pension Plans

June 05, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime and Ross Gascho

If your company is both the sponsor and administrator of a pension plan in a Canadian province other than Quebec, you should take note of the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Re Indalex.

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Employee Can’t Invade Privacy of Another Employee

May 29, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Ian Campbell and Justine Connelly

The evolution of privacy rights in the Canadian workplace continues. In recent months we have updated you on court and labor arbitration decisions that have commented on employee privacy rights. An individual employee tried to take her rights one step further when she sued another employee for invasion of her privacy rights.

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Canadian Court Not Prepared to Act as Workplace Referee

June 28, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Sara Parchello

Does an employer have a broad obligation to protect employees from mental distress that may be caused in the workplace? Ontario’s Court of Appeal recently answered this question in Piresferreira v. Ayotte and Bell Mobility Inc. with a resounding “no.” The decision reverses, in part, an award made back in 2008 – where an employee was awarded over half a million dollars in damages after her boss pushed her on the shoulder and verbally abused her during a workplace dispute.

Background
Piresferreira was a 60-something account manager who had worked with Bell Mobility for about 10 years. She reported to Richard Ayotte, a person known to be a “critical, demanding, loud and aggressive manager.” He was known to pound his fists on the desk, yell, and swear at his employees, and act in other intimidating ways toward employees. Piresferreira, on the other hand, was known to be a sensitive employee who didn’t take well to criticism.

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Beware the Perils of Firing Employee-Shareholders

June 21, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Stephen Acker and Julia Kennedy

As we have repeatedly reported, courts are finding new ways to put money in former employees’ pockets in Canada. Another example is the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Link v. Venture Steel Inc. and Ruben Rivas, where it agreed with the trial judge’s decision awarding a former employee more than $4 million in damages. Only $550,000 of the damages was pay in lieu of notice. The bulk of the damages related to shares that had been improperly purchased by the employer at the time it terminated the employee’s employment for cause.

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Don’t Get Tangled Up in Duct Tape: Lessons for Employers

June 14, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin and Brian Smeenk

The City of Mississauga was recently embarrassed by a video of two of its employees duct-taped together. They were squirming around on a table, taped by their hands, torsos, and feet. This was apparently a routine employee hazing. It was leaked to the media by an employee who had had enough. The case provides a good lesson in how employers should not handle such situations.

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When Must Individual Contractors Receive Reasonable Notice?

January 25, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

A recent appeal court decision demonstrates once again that defining work relationships is far from an exact science. Somewhere on the spectrum between employees and independent contractors, we have seen the emergence of “dependent contractors.” What hasn’t been entirely clear is how one determines “dependent contractor” status.  Nor what that status means in terms of the worker’s entitlements on termination.

The Ontario Court of Appeal in McKee v. Reid’s Heritage Homes Ltd. attempts to shed some light on these issues. The decision may have broad ramifications across Canada.

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