full and final release
The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: An employee who was dismissed for not submitting a doctor’s note in a timely fashion; a firefighter who was reinstated after being dismissed for sexually harassing a co–worker; and human rights claims, made by a former employee, that were barred by terms of a final release received on termination.
In Kielb v. National Money Mart Company, a dismissed employee sought to have the termination and limitation clauses in his employment agreement found unenforceable. His goal was to recover his bonus for the year during which he was terminated, as well as his contractual pay in lieu of notice, which he waived, in accordance with his employment contract, when he refused to provide Money Mart with a full and final release after his termination.
When dismissing an employee, many employers will request that the departing individual sign a full and final release. Such releases can serve a number of useful functions. That said, they are primarily designed to limit the employer’s exposure to future liability arising from the employment relationship.
While employee theft is frequently grounds for termination, shades of grey do appear in the case law. In a recent case, the Ontario Superior Court enforced a settlement agreement in a wrongful dismissal action even though an employee had not told her employer of a loan she had taken from a social committee without permission.
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”.