Bonus Policies and Wrongful Dismissal Damages: Recent Cases Clarify How Employers Can Avoid Bonus Payments over the Notice Period

Companies generally don’t want to pay their dismissed employees bonuses that accrue after the termination date. But drafting policies to achieve that is easier said than done. The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision Dawe v The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONCA 512, provides an important example of a policy that was … Read more

The Issue of “Issue”: Construction of Wills When Parentage is Contested

It is common for testators to make gifts to their “children”, “descendants” or “issue”, such as a “gift of the residue of my estate to my issue per stirpes.” Because biological lineage is, it would seem, the criterion for entitlement to such gifts, beneficiaries under a will can try to increase their share of the … Read more

Changing (or Litigating) Workplace Policy: The Requirement of Consideration

Workplaces are dynamic and workplace policies must evolve. However, effectively amending a workplace policy so that it is enforceable in court is not as straightforward as one might think. Changes to company policies can affect employee rights, benefits, or entitlements. For those changes to become enforceable elements of employment contracts, employers may have to provide … Read more

Full Indemnity Costs in Estate Litigation: Don’t Take it Personally

Emotion is a powerful driver of lawsuits. Estate litigation is especially prone to devolve into a forum for family infighting, with devastating consequences. In Holowaychuk v Lopushinsky, 2016 ABCA 102, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld an important decision regarding costs in such emotion-driven cases, allowing full indemnity costs against the unsuccessful litigant. The trial judgment, Lopushinsky … Read more

Wrongful Dismissals and Restrictive Covenants: The Cross Roads of Theory and Practice

Employers sometimes require their employees to sign restrictive covenants, prohibiting competition or solicitation of clients after the termination of employment. Such restraints can make it difficult for employees to secure alternative work. The question often arises: How do restrictive covenants affect an employee’s entitlement to notice of termination? Recent case law from Alberta and Ontario … Read more

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