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termination without cause

Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most popular HRinfodesk articles this week deal with terminating for cause without cause, employee travel expenses, and a case about dismissal due to Facebook postings.

 

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Failure to continue disability coverage during the notice period

Last year, I reminded employers of the danger of failing to continue disability benefits after dismissing an employee and providing pay in lieu of notice. An important case has now passed through the Ontario Court of Appeal…

 

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No duty to mitigate where employment contract stipulates severance

Rule of law

On June 21, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the trial decision in Bowes v. Goss. It held that the duty to mitigate does not apply where an employment contract contains a clause setting out an employee’s severance entitlement arising from a termination without cause. However, the decision maintains the duty to mitigate where it is expressly incorporated in the employment contract.

 

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What’s wrong with this picture? Settlement excludes amount of vacation pay owing

In Ontario, employers owe vacation pay on employee wages. Wages are defined in section 1 of the Employment Standards Act to include “any payment required to be made by an employer to an employee.” Here is where it gets tricky. In Ontario, the employment standards may require two separate types of payments to an employee who is terminated without cause.

 

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Employer paid no notice or severance when it terminated employee of 36 years without cause

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

 

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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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Court of Appeal confirms entitlement to disability benefits

Most employers are familiar with the potential legal exposure to damages that arises from dismissing an employee without cause. The damages are normally quantified by the value of compensation the dismissed employee would have received during the agreed-upon or court-ordered period of reasonable notice. However, most employers would not contemplate the possibility of having to pay the dismissed employee the value of disability benefits he or she would have received under a disability insurance policy until age 65…

 

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The fine art of determining notice for dismissal: ‘old habits die hard’

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.

 

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Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?

When I speak at conferences, I am often asked the following question: “Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?”

Before this question can be answered, we have to first confront the difficulty that some payroll terms traditionally used to describe both termination, as well as any payments resulting from this event, haven’t always been defined with the greatest of clarity. My preference has always been for those terms that convey the clearest meaning of the related employment standards and source deduction requirements.

 

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LTD claims by dismissed employees

Employers that dismiss employees without cause, and without ensuring that they take steps to preclude all potential claims, can face significant liability beyond the “typical” wrongful dismissal damages. The recent decision of Mr. Justice Echlin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brito v. Canac Kitchens is an example of the type of situation employer’s dread. In that case…

 

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Failure to use employment agreements properly

A topic that I address often in presentations and with clients is the failure, on the part of the vast majority of employers in Canada, to use employment agreements properly (if at all). As I have said many times, policies and agreements are the easiest ways for employers to establish the rights and obligations of the parties and avoid having them imposed by common law or other principles.

 

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Enforceable dismissal clauses

One crucial piece of advice that I offer to employers is to have every single employee sign an employment agreement that, if nothing else, sets out what will happen in the event of dismissal without cause. The reason for this suggestion is simple: without a contractual dismissal provision, an employer’s obligations in the event of dismissal without cause are unpredictable and often extensive.

 

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The importance of notice and manner of dismissal

I recently read an Alberta case where a financial consultant, a top performer, was terminated without notice. The court found he was wrongfully dismissed and terminated in an insensitive manner; this error in judgment cost the employer $2.2 million in damages.

 

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