Getting your contracts in writing is half the battle. You must also ensure that your contract says what you want it to say, and says it clearly. The main issue in the following case was the interpretation of an employment agreement.
Employment lawyers will advise you that a motion for summary judgement can be expensive to lose. Not only does the company have to pay the judgement, the company will have to pay the costs of its own counsel and part of the costs of the employee’s counsel. Therefore, there is pressure on the company to offer a suitable severance package to negotiate a settlement rather than leave it to a court to decide with the cost consequences that follow.
In the past three years there have been a number of cases arising from the Ontario courts considering whether or not termination clauses which purport to rebut the implied presumption of common law notice and limit an employee’s entitlements upon termination are enforceable. The enforceability of such clauses can have significant consequences on the quantum of an individual’s damages because an employee’s common law entitlements typically exceed his/her minimum entitlements under the applicable minimum standards legislation. The Ontario Division Court recently considered the enforceability of a termination clause in the federal sector in Luney v. Day Ross Inc., 2015 ONSC 1440.