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dismissal without cause

Amberber v. IBM Canada Limited: Termination clause fails to rebut employee’s entitlement to reasonable notice

A recent summary judgment motion before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Amberber v. IBM Canada Limited, serves as an important reminder to employers of the need to draft contractual termination clauses with a high degree of clarity, or risk unanticipated liability in the event of a without cause dismissal.

 

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The fork in the road: after-acquired cause for dismissal

In Canada, employers can dismiss employees in one of two ways: with cause or without cause. If an employer dismisses an employee without cause, and then later discovers that they had been stealing from the company for years, can they now allege just cause for dismissal?

 

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Contract enforceability: Signing the employment contract prior to the start date

When an employee is terminated without cause and offered a package that is very modest, but otherwise compliant with the employment contract, a common first step for his or her lawyer will be to see if the contract can be set aside. If the contract can be declared void, the employee can try to pursue the typically much greater common law damages. There are several grounds upon which courts have set aside either the full contract or at the least, the termination provision. This blog post will focus on the issue of signing the contract prior to the start date.

 

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Termination clauses – The legal debate

It appears that the saga of judicial interpretation and consideration of termination clauses will continue, with predictably unpredictable results. Courts will enforce termination clauses that limit an individual’s entitlement to notice of dismissal, but the onus will be on the employer to show that the clause should be enforced.

 

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Fixed-term fiasco: Employee profits off of termination of term contract #learnthelatest

Canadian employees are presumptively entitled to “reasonable notice” of termination. Although this entitlement can be limited to some extent by contract, an employee will generally be entitled to some advance notice of the end of their employment. If advance notice is not given, then the employer can satisfy this obligation by making a payment equivalent to the earnings the employee would have received over the notice period.

 

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Three of the most popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three of the most popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with benefits coverage after the age of 65; employees’ future performance; and deductibility of pension benefits from termination pay.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the taxability of an employer provided fitness facility, allegations of employee theft and a dismissal without cause under the Canada Labour Code.

 

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Big brother contestants – rightfully terminated?

The CBS reality show Big Brother recently made headlines when two of its female contestants were fired from their jobs back home due to racist and homophobic comments made towards fellow contestants. Because the contestants have no contact with the outside world while on the show, neither person is aware that they have been fired or that their workplaces have spoken to the media about their terminations.

 

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Termination clauses can be void even if only a possibility they could violate Employment Standards Act

As those who read my comments regularly will know, I recommend that every employee be asked to sign an employment agreement that sets out, among other things, the amount of notice or pay in lieu thereof that will be required in the event of a dismissal without cause. Such a provision will eliminate all of the uncertainty that typically arises at the time of dismissal when the parties must assess, negotiate and possibly litigate what “reasonable notice” would be in light of all the circumstances.

 

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Dealing with stock options on dismissal

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision dealt with a number of issues arising from the dismissal without cause or notice of a senior vice-president of an investment company. One of the more difficult issues addressed at trial, and considered by the Court of Appeal, was the trigger date for the right of the employer to re-purchase the employee’s two percent interest in the company.

 

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