In the recent decision of Gagnon & Associates Inc. the Court reminds us that both employers and employees have the obligation to provide reasonable notice of intention to terminate the employment relationship. 
In this case, two long-term, key, but unhappy, employees tendered their resignations to their employer with immediate effect after being offered a job at a competing company. The employees together were responsible for over 60% of the employer’s sales and so their immediate departure had a greatly negative impact on the performance of the company, which was not able to find replacements for some time. The employer filed suit alleging wrongful resignation.
The court found that the two employees did not provide the employer with reasonable notice of termination of their employment, which should have been 2 months. The factors discussed by the Court as relevant to determining the appropriate notice period in the absence of a prior agreement were: the length of one’s employment, the importance of one’s role to the functioning of the company, the ease of finding replacement personnel, as well as other factors (for example the knowledge that another employee is planning to depart at the same time). As such, when an employee with an important function seeks to resign on short notice, the employer need not to accept the resignation, particularly when doing so would have a substantial negative impact on the employer’s business. The case serves as a reminder to employees that they also have obligations to the employer, even at the end of their employment relationship.
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