The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our economy over the past year. Many of us have experienced firsthand the struggles of small businesses and hard-hit industries such as the food services sector and tourism. The strains on businesses are unavoidably accompanied by employee layoffs and terminations. Near the beginning of the pandemic, one question on many employment lawyers’ minds was, what impact will the COVID-19 pandemic have on calculating an employee's severance pay?
entitlement to notice
Interestingly, the events following termination of employment do not affect an employee’s entitlement to notice. This includes the situation where an employee is terminated and shortly thereafter becomes ill or disabled. Our courts have dealt with this situation by suggesting a longer notice period may be warranted because the employee may find it more difficult to find alternate employment.
A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, confirming a trial decision, once again demonstrates the difficulty employers will face in satisfying courts in this province that there was cause for dismissal.