Employers making dismissal decisions would be best served with employment contracts that grant flexibility in these circumstances with a properly drafted layoff clause. Why? Because the current pandemic has proven that we are not always as prepared as we think we are and must always be prepared for the unexpected.
In Kerner v Information Builders (Canada) (2020 ONSC 2975), Pollak J. had a case which involved the termination provisions of a sales plan and whether the employee was entitled to commissions over the notice period in addition to his base salary.
Employers across Ontario are double-checking their contracts since the Ontario Court of Appeal released its judgment in Waksdale v Swegon North America Inc., earlier this month. The court held that if an Employment Agreement contains a termination-with-cause provision that breaches the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), the termination-without-cause provision will be rendered unenforceable as well. This is true even if the employer was not relying on the for cause section and had proceeded on a without cause basis. Even a severability clause cannot save a provision in this context.