Today, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal in Wilson v Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and ruled that federally regulated employers must provide justification for dismissing a non-unionized employee or risk facing the “galaxy of discretionary remedies, including, most notably, reinstatement” provided for under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). Unfortunately for federally regulated employers, this decision overturns the Federal Court of Appeal ruling we wrote about early last year and confirms the notion that federally regulated, non-unionized employees cannot be dismissed without cause or reasons. In other words, a federal sector employer cannot simply … Continue Reading
A typical wrongful dismissal case (where cause is not an issue) generally involves two legal issues. First, how much reasonable notice of termination (or pay in lieu) should the employee have received based on the employee’s age, length of service, position, compensation and the availability of comparable employment. Second, did the employee mitigate his/her damages by finding alternative employment or failing to make reasonable efforts to do so during the notice period? Notably, a judge can decrease the notice period based on the employee’s unreasonable mitigation efforts.
Often times by the time the trial rolls around, the notice period has … Continue Reading
So much for the rule of thumb that an employee should receive one month of notice for every year of service. The Toronto Star has reported on a recent wrongful dismissal decision that Ontario employers should consider, especially when hiring senior managers or executives. Except for the 12 month notice period that was awarded, the facts of the case seem unremarkable. The company terminated, without cause, the employment of a 52 year old executive, who had 19 months of service.
The interesting part of the decision is that the executive, who had still not found work after 14 months, was … Continue Reading
Like many management side labour lawyers, I often advise employers and their human resources professionals on the appropriate amount of notice or termination/severance pay an employee should receive upon dismissal without cause. I often remark that there is no “rule of thumb” or formulaic approach. Instead, in determining an employee’s notice period at common-law, the Courts have listed a number of factors to consider, including an employee’s age, length of service, position, compensation and the availability of comparable employment. While the application of these factors provides some guidance (e.g. junior/younger employees are generally entitled to less notice than more tenured/older … Continue Reading
A recent decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) in Fair v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 2013 HRTO 440 illustrates the potentially serious consequences for employers who fail to accommodate employees.
In its initial and long-delayed decision on liability, the HRTO found the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board liable for discriminating against former employee Sharon Fair by failing to accommodate her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminating her employment.… Continue Reading