Employment lawyers spend a lot of time assessing whether contracts of employment are enforceable or not. The first thing that I check, when I review a contract of employment, is the date. What I'm attempting to determine is whether the contract was signed before or after there was already a verbal agreement in place.
A recent judgment of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal has once again affirmed the importance of carefully drafting termination clauses in employment contracts. In this case, the Court upheld a trial judgment that a termination clause which purported to limit the employee’s notice entitlement to 20 days was not enforceable.
The Court of Appeal’s decision begins with the following useful overview of the legal principles applicable to a termination without cause:
… Continue reading “Lessons from the mistakes of others: Reliance on an unenforceable termination clause is costly”
Every person employed for an indefinite period is entitled to reasonable notice of dismissal, unless the dismissal is for just cause or the parties previously settled upon a notice period, which is authorized by the Employment Standards Act, S.N.B. 1982, c. E-7.2. Where the dismissal is without cause and the employment contract is mute on the length of notice required, or if the employment contract provides for a notice period that is short of the minimum prescribed
Assessing how much notice of termination a particular employee is entitled to is a challenge most employers would like to avoid. As those of you who deal with the issue on a regular basis know, employment standards legislation sets out the minimum amount of notice, but it will almost never be sufficient unless the employee has an enforceable contract that limits them to the statutory amounts. In most cases, the common law will require that an employer provide “reasonable notice”, and though there are many myths, there are no easy ways to determine what is reasonable.