There is an implied term of the employment contract that when an employee is terminated without cause, they will be provided reasonable notice of termination. (Of course, an employer can avoid the reasonable notice requirement by including an express provision regarding termination in the employment contract.)
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice just decided that an employer terminated a 65-year-old long-term employee without the proper amount of notice or severance. As a result, the employer had to pay hefty damages, interest and costs award
We know that there is no precise method to determine the common-law period of reasonable notice when terminating employees. What has evolved and has been the most quoted case to help with this is the infamous Bardal vs. Globe and Mail. This case tells us that reasonable notice must be decided with reference to each specific case, considering the character of employment, length of service of the servant, the age of the servant and the availability of similar employment, having regard to the experience, training and qualifications of the servant.
The recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in Szczypiorkowski v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union is not particularly groundbreaking, but it does affirm a number of important points for employers…
Employers should never accept resignations from employees that are upset. It simply casts a “wider net of possible financial exposure” if things turn nasty. In other words, judges or juries probably won’t sympathize with the issue of resignation acceptance if the employee is genuinely and legitimately upset (not because someone misplaced their red stapler).
Constructive dismissals are something that most employers are aware of, but many may not be aware that constructive dismissals are in fact very difficult cases for employees to win. This is illustrated by a recent case out of Nova Scotia, Gillis v. Sobeys Group Incorporated 2011 NSSC 443.
Probably the most prevalent misconception in the area of employment law is the notion that all employees are entitled to “one month per year” as notice of termination without cause. This has, in the past, been referred to as the golden rule. In spite of repeated judicial pronouncements that the rule no longer applies, human resources professionals continue to apply it.
I always advise clients to consider their options when they must dismiss an individual (assuming it is without cause). Rather than automatically offering a package, and paying the employee not to work, I encourage our clients to consider whether a period of working notice could be viable. By doing so, at least they would get some value for their money. However, I often think back to a comment made by Mr. Justice Donnelly of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, who, in the course of considering a wrongful dismissal claim, opined that “[w]orking notice is an institution almost invariably predestined to fail.”
A recent case from the Alberta Court of Appeal suggests that Honda damages, previously known as Wallace damages, are becoming less of a threat for employers in wrongful dismissal suits.
An oft-overlooked issue is the amount of notice that employees must give their employer when they leave. According to…
A recent case out of the Quebec Superior Court Lysecky v. United Parcel Service of Canada Limited 2010 QCCS 5098 is indicative how the question of “moral damages” is still unsettled law.
As we all know, in the late 1990’s the Supreme Court of Canada held that employers had a duty to act in good faith in the course of terminating the employment relationship. In Wallace v. United Grain Growers, our High Court found that the employer had breached that duty, and the majority held that the remedy for such a breach would be to extend the applicable notice period. Over the following decade, claims for “Wallace damages” became commonplace, to say the least. Unfortunately, many courts seemed more than willing to oblige plaintiffs, finding bad faith in all sorts of circumstances that, while not demonstrative of perfect practice in the course of dismissal, hardly seemed to indicate conduct taken in bad faith.