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Employee was tricked into training his replacement before being terminated

In a recent post, I discussed an example of the employer doing the right thing. Unfortunately, today’s story is an example of the employer doing the wrong thing. This is a case where the British Columbia Supreme Court awarded damages to an employee who was tricked into training his replacement and was terminated once the trainee completed the probationary period.

Not only was the employee treated poorly in this regard, but he was also treated as though he was terminated for just cause. Despite the fact that he was paid termination notice, the employer immediately escorted him off of company property, and refused to provide him with a reference letter. What’s more, the termination took place days before he would have been paid his annual bonus.

The Court found that although there was no evidence of any “outrageous or malicious conduct” by the employer leading to punitive damages, there were some clear findings made by the trial judge that supported an award of aggravated damages. There was, at least, insensitivity and a lack of candour on the part of the employer in the way it went about ending the employee’s employment.

Employers need to remember that it is very important to:

  • Be honest when an employee trains his or her replacement
  • Ensure that a dismissal is conducted fairly, in good faith, truthfully and sensitively

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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