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failure to mitigate

Refusing a 50 km commute not a failure to mitigate

In wrongful dismissal litigation, one of the key issues is always the dismissed employee’s duty to mitigate. When an employee is terminated or constructively dismissed, he or she has a positive obligation to minimize his or her damages by seeking out comparable, alternate employment. Anything the employee earns in the common law notice period is subtracted from what the company owes. An issue that often arises is whether or not it was reasonable for an employee to refuse exploring a potential new job because of the length of the commute.

 

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Motion for summary judgement raises questions about efficiency of pre-trial resolution

Employment lawyers will advise you that a motion for summary judgement can be expensive to lose. Not only does the company have to pay the judgement, the company will have to pay the costs of its own counsel and part of the costs of the employee’s counsel. Therefore, there is pressure on the company to offer a suitable severance package to negotiate a settlement rather than leave it to a court to decide with the cost consequences that follow.

 

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Failure to mitigate reduces damages in Human Rights claim

In the wake of the Divisional Court’s decision in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board v Fair, human rights damages have been a hot topic. As you may recall, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded significant damages in that decision which included an award of back pay for a period of approximately 10 years.

 

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Better the devil you know? employee’s obligation to accept an alternate position

Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2008 in a case Evans v. Teamsters Local Union, the courts have recognized the obligation of an employee, in certain circumstances, to accept an offer of alternate employment from their employer following dismissal. This has put many employees in the awkward position of determining whether or not the offer of employment is one that must be accepted based on the Evans’ reasoning. The difficulty faced by many employees’ counsel is the degree of difference in the position being offered, and whether such difference justifies the employee rejecting the offer of employment.

 

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Picky, picky: How selective can a dismissed employee be in mitigation efforts?

When advising a wrongfully terminated employee as to her legal rights and obligations, I always point out that a wrongful dismissal claim is not like winning the lottery. While employers are obligated to provide reasonable notice of termination or payment in lieu of such notice, terminated employees must make “reasonable efforts” to find new employment. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. What must a dismissed employee do to meet her obligation to mitigate? What have courts determined to be reasonable steps? What conduct has been held to be unreasonable? From whose perspective will reasonableness be judged–the employers or the employees?

 

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What is the impact of mental health issues on the duty to mitigate

It has often been said that termination from employment is the capital punishment of employment law. While perhaps too extreme an analogy, there is no doubt that termination is an emotionally draining experience. The courts have grappled with the issue of plaintiffs in a wrongful dismissal claim who argue that the emotional upheaval of their dismissal resulted in an inability to look for replacement work for a period of time.

 

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When does a constructively dismissed employee have to remain in their employment?

Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Evans v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31, [2008] 1 S.C.R. 661, there has been a great debate surrounding whether a constructively dismissed employee must remain in their employment with the dismissing employer in order to mitigate their damages. In that case, the Court found that in some circumstances, the duty to mitigate will require an employee to remain in their employment. However, an employee is not required to remain with the employer if he or she would be required to work in an atmosphere of hostility, embarrassment or humiliation.

 

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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”.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

Employee constructively dismissed, but no damages awarded because of failure to mitigate The Ontario Superior Court of Justice just decided that although an employee was constructively dismissed when he was suddenly “laid off,” the employer did not owe the employee any damages because he failed to mitigate his loss. New high-water mark for punitive damages […]

 

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Slaw: Employee constructively dismissed, but no damages awarded because of failure to mitigate

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice just decided that although an employee was constructively dismissed when he was suddenly “laid off,” the employer did not owe the employee any damages because he failed to mitigate his loss.

 

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Court of Appeal rules on evidence of failure to mitigate

Advancing a defence of failure to mitigate in a wrongful dismissal claim requires evidence that…

 

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