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termination without cause

Employers may be able to rely upon after-acquired cause

Although I have been known to reassure employers that “just cause is not a lost cause”, it is fair to say that the threshold for establishing that summary dismissal is warranted is a difficult one to meet in most circumstances. One question that often arises is what an employer is to do when they only learned of reasons for dismissal after the dismissal has already taken place. This can occur in situations where an employee was dismissed on a without cause basis, or in situations where the termination was for cause. Either way, the issue is what an employer can do with subsequently obtained information, which is typically referred to as “after-acquired cause”.

 

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Lessons from the mistakes of others: Reliance on an unenforceable termination clause is costly

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 […]

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with dismissal without cause in the federally regulated sector; how an employer is allowed to discipline an employee for a discriminatory Facebook posting; and a commentary on when are the baby boomers going to start retiring and free up their jobs for the next generations.

 

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Misconceptions of a probationary period can expose employer to liability

Most people assume that they know what a probationary period is and how it works in Canada. Unfortunately, however, there are many misconceptions with respect to the law in this regard, and many employers unknowingly expose themselves to significant liability when they hire new employees.

 

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Most-viewed articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three most popular HRinfodesk articles this week deal with terminating for cause without cause, employee travel expenses, and a case about dismissal due to Facebook postings.

 

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Failure to continue disability coverage during the notice period

Last year, I reminded employers of the danger of failing to continue disability benefits after dismissing an employee and providing pay in lieu of notice. An important case has now passed through the Ontario Court of Appeal…

 

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No duty to mitigate where employment contract stipulates severance

Rule of law

On June 21, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the trial decision in Bowes v. Goss. It held that the duty to mitigate does not apply where an employment contract contains a clause setting out an employee’s severance entitlement arising from a termination without cause. However, the decision maintains the duty to mitigate where it is expressly incorporated in the employment contract.

 

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What’s wrong with this picture? Settlement excludes amount of vacation pay owing

In Ontario, employers owe vacation pay on employee wages. Wages are defined in section 1 of the Employment Standards Act to include “any payment required to be made by an employer to an employee.” Here is where it gets tricky. In Ontario, the employment standards may require two separate types of payments to an employee who is terminated without cause.

 

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Employer paid no notice or severance when it terminated employee of 36 years without cause

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice just decided that an employer terminated a 65-year-old long-term employee without the proper amount of notice or severance. As a result, the employer had to pay hefty damages, interest and costs award

 

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Termination clauses can be void even if only a possibility they could violate Employment Standards Act

As those who read my comments regularly will know, I recommend that every employee be asked to sign an employment agreement that sets out, among other things, the amount of notice or pay in lieu thereof that will be required in the event of a dismissal without cause. Such a provision will eliminate all of the uncertainty that typically arises at the time of dismissal when the parties must assess, negotiate and possibly litigate what “reasonable notice” would be in light of all the circumstances.

 

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Court of Appeal confirms entitlement to disability benefits

Most employers are familiar with the potential legal exposure to damages that arises from dismissing an employee without cause. The damages are normally quantified by the value of compensation the dismissed employee would have received during the agreed-upon or court-ordered period of reasonable notice. However, most employers would not contemplate the possibility of having to pay the dismissed employee the value of disability benefits he or she would have received under a disability insurance policy until age 65…

 

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The fine art of determining notice for dismissal: ‘old habits die hard’

Probably the most prevalent misconception in the area of employment law is the notion that all employees are entitled to “one month per year” as notice of termination without cause. This has, in the past, been referred to as the golden rule. In spite of repeated judicial pronouncements that the rule no longer applies, human resources professionals continue to apply it.

 

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Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?

When I speak at conferences, I am often asked the following question: “Is severance pay required when an employee is terminated?”

Before this question can be answered, we have to first confront the difficulty that some payroll terms traditionally used to describe both termination, as well as any payments resulting from this event, haven’t always been defined with the greatest of clarity. My preference has always been for those terms that convey the clearest meaning of the related employment standards and source deduction requirements.

 

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LTD claims by dismissed employees

Employers that dismiss employees without cause, and without ensuring that they take steps to preclude all potential claims, can face significant liability beyond the “typical” wrongful dismissal damages. The recent decision of Mr. Justice Echlin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brito v. Canac Kitchens is an example of the type of situation employer’s dread. In that case…

 

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Failure to use employment agreements properly

A topic that I address often in presentations and with clients is the failure, on the part of the vast majority of employers in Canada, to use employment agreements properly (if at all). As I have said many times, policies and agreements are the easiest ways for employers to establish the rights and obligations of the parties and avoid having them imposed by common law or other principles.

 

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