First Reference company logo

First Reference Talks

News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

decorative image

common law notice

Three of the most popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with an employer’s miscalculation of the employee’s notice period; how an Alberta employer paid the price for failing to accommodate an employee’s disabilities; and Ontario’s new mandatory occupational health and safety training.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Old employment contracts can come back to bite you – or help you

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court considered the termination of an employee of Open Text Corporation who had been working for Open Text and its predecessor corporations for 17 years. There was no agreement governing his employment with the first company and it received little updating through two more acquisitions. When he was terminated, he complained that the original contract was void due to the transitions and sued for common law notice…

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beware of using one month notice per year of service ‘rule of thumb’

One of the questions at the forefront of many employers’ minds when they are considering terminating an employee without cause is how much it is going to cost. Unless there is a written employment contract with an express termination clause, an employer’s obligation is to provide reasonable notice of termination. Since there is no set formula for determining the appropriate length of the reasonable notice period, employers (or their legal counsel) must estimate what they think the notice period could be, having regard to the employee’s age, length of service, character of employment, the availability of similar employment, and the employee’s skills and training. Often, employers and their legal counsel will use a rough rule of thumb of one month notice per year of service (although the courts have denied that such a rule of thumb exists).

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Working notice: A refresher

Most of the time when employers look to terminate an employee they opt for pay in lieu of notice. Yet pay in lieu of notice can be costly, it can discourage mitigation and it may hurt productivity (if a suitable replacement has yet to be found). An often overlooked approach is providing working notice that satisfies both statutory and common law obligations.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fairness for probationary employees?

The recent decision by an Ontario Small Claims Court (Cao v. SBLR LLP) , even though only at the small claims court level and unlikely to set any legal precedent, is nevertheless a reminder to employers and employees alike that we often tend to assume things about the law which are not true, only to be surprised by the facts when an aggrieved employee decides to challenge an employer’s action.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with psychological health and safety, a wrongful dismissal claim that applied ‘rule of thumb’ principal and a court ruling about a workplace accident because employee failed to follow instructions.

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Notice of dismissal must be clear, specific, and unequivocal

Two recent cases have confirmed a long-standing principle: in order to be effective, notice of dismissal must be clear, specific and unequivocal. Among other things, a definite terminate date must be specified. Otherwise, in most cases, the “notice” will not be effective, and the employer will be on the hook for additional notice or pay in lieu thereof.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is an employee’s resfusal to accept a settlement offer a failure to mitigate?

In AMEC Americas Limited v. MacWilliams, 2012 NBCA 46, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal held that an employer’s defence that an employee failed to mitigate his damages by refusing to accept its settlement offers had no merit. As leave to appeal the decision was recently refused by the Supreme Court of Canada, the current answer to our question (at least in New Brunswick) is “no”.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

LTD claims by dismissed employees

Employers that dismiss employees without cause, and without ensuring that they take steps to preclude all potential claims, can face significant liability beyond the “typical” wrongful dismissal damages. The recent decision of Mr. Justice Echlin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brito v. Canac Kitchens is an example of the type of situation employer’s dread. In that case…

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The importance of notice and manner of dismissal

I recently read an Alberta case where a financial consultant, a top performer, was terminated without notice. The court found he was wrongfully dismissed and terminated in an insensitive manner; this error in judgment cost the employer $2.2 million in damages.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next posts