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

January 15, 2017 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 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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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…

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

December 13, 2015 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…

Incentive plan entitlements on wrongful dismissal

November 08, 2015 0 COMMENTS

By Richard E. Johnston

In Canada, the wording of incentive plans can have a significant impact on the payments required on termination without cause. This point was highlighted by three Ontario decisions earlier this year. read more…

Federal sector employers have right to dismiss without cause, too

February 22, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Bonny Mak Waterfall

There’s good news for Canadian employers in the federal sector—those engaged in federal works and undertakings such as airlines, airports, railways, banking, interprovincial transportation, and telecommunications. For many years, employers in Canada’s federal sector understood that they did not have the right to dismiss employees without cause unless such termination was due to lack of work or discontinuance of a function. The Federal Court of Appeal recently rejected this view in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. read more…

Commissions during the notice period: contractual language rules

January 04, 2015 0 COMMENTS

By Thora A. Sigurdson

In Sciancamerli v. Comtech (Communication Technologies) Ltd., 2014 BCSC 2140, a specialized salesperson was terminated without cause after 10 months’ service. He sued for wrongful dismissal. At trial, the main issues were the length of notice for a short-term salesperson and his entitlement, if any, to commission payments during the notice period. This case is a reminder to Canadian employers of the importance of carefully drafted language in employment contracts. read more…