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reasonable notice of termination

Can’t afford to keep them, can’t afford to fire them: Poor finances do not reduce termination obligations

Employee salaries and benefits can be some of the greatest costs borne by a business. As a result, when a company faces financial hardship, they will often terminate positions to reduce their costs. However, many employers may not realize that the obligation to provide reasonable notice of termination could negate any short-term cost savings they hoped to realize.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with reasonable notice of termination and the definition of salary or wages under the Income Tax Act.

 

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Considering the economic circumstance of employer when deciding notice of dismissal

scale money

The impact of the employer’s financial condition at the time of termination on the notice period has been the subject of some debate. In 1983, the Ontario Court of Appeal held, in Bohemier v. Storwal International Inc., that the financial circumstances of the employer are a factor that can be considered in the assessment of the notice period. Some courts have explicitly rejected the notion, however…

 

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Picky, picky: How selective can a dismissed employee be in mitigation efforts?

When advising a wrongfully terminated employee as to her legal rights and obligations, I always point out that a wrongful dismissal claim is not like winning the lottery. While employers are obligated to provide reasonable notice of termination or payment in lieu of such notice, terminated employees must make “reasonable efforts” to find new employment. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. What must a dismissed employee do to meet her obligation to mitigate? What have courts determined to be reasonable steps? What conduct has been held to be unreasonable? From whose perspective will reasonableness be judged–the employers or the employees?

 

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Beware of using one month notice per year of service ‘rule of thumb’

One of the questions at the forefront of many employers’ minds when they are considering terminating an employee without cause is how much it is going to cost. Unless there is a written employment contract with an express termination clause, an employer’s obligation is to provide reasonable notice of termination. Since there is no set formula for determining the appropriate length of the reasonable notice period, employers (or their legal counsel) must estimate what they think the notice period could be, having regard to the employee’s age, length of service, character of employment, the availability of similar employment, and the employee’s skills and training. Often, employers and their legal counsel will use a rough rule of thumb of one month notice per year of service (although the courts have denied that such a rule of thumb exists).

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles in this week HRinfodesk newsletter deals with assessing a probationary employee, dismissing an employee based on a serious misconduct and the upcoming workplace mental health standard…

 

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Long service employee awarded reasonable notice beyond 24 months

There is an implied term of the employment contract that when an employee is terminated without cause, they will be provided reasonable notice of termination. (Of course, an employer can avoid the reasonable notice requirement by including an express provision regarding termination in the employment contract.)

 

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Widespread confusion on how courts determine the amount of notice of dismissal

As I and others have frequently commented, there is widespread confusion and misunderstanding regarding how our courts determine the amount of notice of dismissal (sometimes referred to as “severance”) an employee is entitled to. The recent decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench in Coppola v. Capital Pontiac Buick Cadillac GMC Ltd. provides a fairly thorough analysis.

 

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What do employers do when employees provide too much notice of resignation?

An oft-overlooked issue is the amount of notice that employees must give their employer when they leave. According to…

 

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