Notice of termination
A recent judgment of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal has once again affirmed the importance of carefully drafting termination clauses in employment contracts. In this case, the Court upheld a trial judgment that a termination clause which purported to limit the employee’s notice entitlement to 20 days was not enforceable. The Court [...]
One aspect of the law relating to termination of employment that has developed in recent years is the obligation of an employer to fairly and thoroughly investigate alleged misconduct before taking disciplinary action. Several decisions over the past few years have made it clear that if an employer fails to investigate, or fails to investigate properly, before dismissing an employee for cause, they are likely to face damages for wrongful dismissal, as well as extraordinary damages relating to the matter of dismissal and the impact on the employee.
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…
Just like pre-nuptial agreements, employers should contemplate termination when their employment contracts are drafted. A recent case illustrates why it is important to include a legally enforceable termination clause in an employment contract for all employees.
“We cannot continue to tolerate John’s misconduct, and we have decided to dismiss him for cause… once we get through the trade show next month.” Famous last words? Well, they will certainly weaken the position that just cause for dismissal existed in the circumstances. If an employer truly believes that they have just cause for dismissal, the employee should not be permitted to continue working, as that is entirely inconsistent with the notion that the employer could not continue to keep the employee on.
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with the need for explicit warnings before terminating for cause, proving reprisal in employment, and the notice period required when terminating an older employee.
Assessing how much notice of termination a particular employee is entitled to is a challenge most employers would like to avoid. As those of you who deal with the issue on a regular basis know, employment standards legislation sets out the minimum amount of notice, but it will almost never be sufficient unless the employee has an enforceable contract that limits them to the statutory amounts. In most cases, the common law will require that an employer provide “reasonable notice”, and though there are many myths, there are no easy ways to determine what is reasonable.
Those of us that practice employment law understand that our Courts will not hesitate to deem a termination clause in an employment agreement unenforceable if they are provided with a reasonable basis upon which to do so. In recent times, we have seen two noteworthy cases that have dealt with termination clauses and been decided in favour of the employee. Employers and their counsel should be mindful of these cases as they implement employment agreements, if they hope to be able to rely upon them.
When a company purchases another business, it is important to consider the legal implications respecting the status of employees. The Ontario Superior Court recently decided a case regarding the validity of an employment contract where an employee had signed an agreement with his former employer but never executed a new agreement when the company was purchased by another business. The plaintiff argued that the employment contract only governed the previous employment relationship. The Court disagreed, finding that the terms of the employment contract still applied.
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.
Even in the absence of a release, employee who accepted a termination package not entitled to additional damages
If an employee negotiates a termination package with an employer but does not sign a release, can they successfully claim additional pay in lieu of notice in a court action? Interestingly, the Ontario Superior Court recently held that the answer for one employee in these circumstances was “no”.
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.
A well-drafted contract protects not only the company but also its employees and senior personnel. In a recent decision,…
The British Columbia Supreme Court recently expressed disapproval of a claim for constructive dismissal on the basis of negative treatment where the plaintiff was an active participant in the creation of the toxic work environment.
The three most viewed articles in this week HRinfodesk newsletter deals with assessing a probationary employee, dismissing an employee based on a serious misconduct and the upcoming workplace mental health standard…