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bad faith

The damages formerly known as Wallace – Are they still relevant?

It has been about eight years since the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Honda Canada v Keays, which dramatically altered the law with respect to damages relating to bad faith conduct in the course of dismissal. Is the topic still relevant? A recent Ontario decision confirms that it is.

 

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Just cause termination: Employers need “reasonable basis”

The Court acknowledged that an employer may allege just cause, and later abandon that claim at any time. The Court held that it wouldn’t be appropriate to penalize an employer for changing its mind if it initially had a reasonable basis to believe it had just cause to terminate an employee. As such, it is important to investigate and document any evidence of employee misconduct, and to act accordingly.

 

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This employer’s case had 99 problems – Proving cause was one

A recent case out of Calgary, Karmel v. Calgary Jewish Academy, presents some valuable lessons for Alberta employers. This case involves a wrongful dismissal lawsuit by a terminated School Principal, Mr. Karmel, who was alleged to have been disobedient.

 

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Knowing your limitation periods under the Human Rights Code

The Human Rights Code allows for a person who believes that their rights under the “Code” have been infringed upon to file an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The “Code” states that the application must be made within one year after the incident, or if there were a series of incidents, within one year after the last incident in the series. But what happens when a person files an application outside of the limitation period?

 

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Can employers publicize terminations via social media? Dallas’ police chief says yes

In the name of transparency and building public confidence in the local police force, Dallas police chief David O. Brown has begun posting announcements of staff terminations and demotions on the social networking services Twitter and Facebook. Chief Brown is surely blazing a trail with the controversial practice, but it remains to be seen whether others will follow—or if it’s even legal…

 

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An overview of damages within the context of employment law

A wrongful dismissal lawsuit can be a potential nightmare for companies no matter what size. Lawsuits carry with them complex claims that are often convoluted and difficult to understand for the non-legal specialist. This blog post will offer a brief overview of the parameters of some of the damages which can be claimed within the context of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

 

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The debate over moral damages continues

Since Honda v. Keays, employment law and human resources practitioners have been watching how the law regarding bad faith dismissals has developed, in particular, the assessment of moral damages. A recently published decision has added some clarity to the moral damages question. The case, Canada (Attorney General) v. Tipple (2011) dealt with the well known case of Douglas Tipple.

 

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Ongoing evolution of ‘the damages formerly known as Wallace’

As we all know, in the late 1990’s the Supreme Court of Canada held that employers had a duty to act in good faith in the course of terminating the employment relationship. In Wallace v. United Grain Growers, our High Court found that the employer had breached that duty, and the majority held that the remedy for such a breach would be to extend the applicable notice period. Over the following decade, claims for “Wallace damages” became commonplace, to say the least. Unfortunately, many courts seemed more than willing to oblige plaintiffs, finding bad faith in all sorts of circumstances that, while not demonstrative of perfect practice in the course of dismissal, hardly seemed to indicate conduct taken in bad faith.

 

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Update on damages arising out of bad faith in the course of dismissal: Soost vs. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc.

The Court of Appeal in Alberta has just ruled that there was no basis to award “The Damages Formerly Known as Wallace” in Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., dramatically reducing the value of the award.

 

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