In Cooper v Porcupine Opportunities( 2020 SKCA 33) Caldwell J. upheld a bad faith damage award of a long term foreman.
“In this regard, the trial judge based his award of moral damages on the cumulative consequence of three incidents: (1) the false allegations of theft; (2) the false explanation that Mr. Cooper’s position was to be eliminated; and (3) the false allegations of inappropriate and threatening communications.”
The interesting aspect of this case is that the employer never alleged just cause, instead they told him that his job was being eliminated. The allegation of theft was only discussed in an in-camera meeting of the Board of Directors. However the Court found that because he was employed in a small town, the fact that 9 members of the community (the Bd of Directors) were made aware of these allegations justified the finding of bad faith as his reputation in the community was adversely affected. Moreover as the true reason that the Board voted to fire Cooper was because of the theft allegation, lying to him and telling him it was without cause also constituted bad faith.
Presumably this means that when firing someone, employers must be brutally honest. If the real reason Frank is being fired is because no one can stand his bad body odour but in order not to hurt his feelings you tell him that his job has become redundant, that can give rise to bad faith damages. This reminds me of the old joke about what do you say when your spouse asks “Do these pants make me look fat?”
Latest posts by Barry B. Fisher LL.B. (see all)
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