A Mitigation Windfall for Fixed-Term Employees, Location Depending

Recent cases highlight an important difference between provinces in the treatment of mitigation income after the breach of a fixed-term employment contract. Ontario’s jurisprudence can result in a windfall to some employees, where cases provide for damages to the end of the contract’s term without deduction for income earned in alternative employment. But courts outside … Read more

“Saving Clause” to the Rescue? Employers Should Rely on Sound Drafting First

A recent case confirms (briefly put) that there is no substitute for the proper drafting of employment contracts. In Rossman v. Canadian Solar Inc. the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt a significant blow to the utility of “saving clauses” to salvage drafting errors when a termination provision is not compliant with employment standards legislation. This … Read more

Calculating Wrongful Dismissal Damages After Mitigation at Higher Pay

A recent case weighs in on an interesting puzzle in the law of wrongful dismissal damages: How to factor mitigation income into the award when the employee gets new work at significantly higher pay. Kideckel v. Gard-X Automotive Refinish Inc. suggests the jurisprudence is consolidating around a principled approach, holding that an employer shouldn’t get … Read more

With Great Power Comes Great Liability

Employers owe their employees a duty of good faith. Breaching that duty during a termination can lead to expansive liability, as the City of Toronto recently learned the hard way. The case of Headley v. City of Toronto involved an employee who was dismissed on allegations of theft and fraud. But the City’s conclusions were … Read more

Another “Saving Clause” Flubs the Rescue

A recent case dealt another blow to the utility of “saving clauses” to rectify drafting errors in employment contracts. The Court in Groves v. UTS Consultants Inc. found a clause ostensibly supplanting the employee’s right to reasonable notice of termination was unenforceable and the intention to contract out of the common law was not salvaged … Read more

Wrongful Dismissal Damages (Case Summary No. 1): Hickaway v Riddell Kurczaba Architecture

Another Alberta wrongful dismissal case will be of interest to employment law and HR geeks seeking to hone their internal reasonable notice gauges. This post summarizes the Bardal Factors, confirms the reasonable notice period, and sets out some points of interest from the judgment in Hickaway v Riddell Kurczaba Architecture Engineering Interior Design Ltd. SUMMARY … Read more

Human Rights, Extraordinary Remedies: New Case Highlights Advantages For Employees of Using Human Rights over the Court System

A recent Human Rights case highlights the vastly different remedies available to employees in the Human Rights system versus the civil courts. After a 13-day hearing, the complainant in Pratt v University of Alberta received: compensation for 18 months’ lost wages, well exceeding pay in lieu of reasonable notice; general damages, including for mental distress; … Read more

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

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