When is a wrongfully dismissed employee required to accept on offer of re-employment to mitigate his or her damages against a former employer? In the event of an unjust dismissal, both employees and employers have important roles to play: on the one hand, employees generally have an obligation to mitigate their damages by seeking an alternate source of income; on the other hand, employers have an obligation to compensate an unjustly dismissed employee for his or her losses due to lack of notice and/or severance.
In Ontario, as in most provinces, an employee can be terminated without cause so long as they are provided with and/or paid the appropriate amount of notice and severance, either in accordance with their employment contract or at common law (and, at a minimum, those sums pursuant to the Employment Standards Act). In comparison, the Supreme Court of Canada has finally confirmed in the seminal case of Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (‘Wilson’), released yesterday, that federal employees may not be dismissed without cause.
More often than not, dismissed employees and their former employers disagree on the magnitude of the severance package offered. The point of this post is to canvas how settlement dollars can be stretched to maximize the value of the severance package. The theme that runs through all of the options discussed below is tax avoidance.
In British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal) v. Fraser Health Authority, seven technicians at a single hospital laboratory were diagnosed with breast cancer. Each of them applied for compensation under British Columbia’s Workers Compensation Act (‘the Act’) on the basis that the cancer was an occupational disease. The payment of benefits under the Act is conditional upon the employment having been of ‘causative significance’ in the development of the worker’s illness.
Bill C-243 seeks to amend the Employment Insurance Act in order to allow a mother to begin using her maternity benefits 15 weeks before the week in which she expects to be off of work if she is unable to perform the duties of her regular employment and her employer is unable to modify her job functions or reassign her to another job. The motivation behind the bill was to allow a mother to be off work early if her current job functions may pose a risk to her health.
Since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin, summary judgment has repeatedly been celebrated as an important tool in any employment lawyer’s toolbox. The length of the reasonable notice period or the validity of a termination clause are usually factually uncontroversial issues that are perfectly poised for determination without trial.
Contract law at its most basic involves an offer, an acceptance of that offer, and consideration that must flow both ways. But what happens when you have already started working and your employer provides you with a new contract to sign? Can they rely on this new contract?
The duty to mitigate, in short, is an employee’s obligation to search for new work following the termination of his or her employment. It is important that an employee take this duty seriously. If not, it could significantly limit what he or she is entitled to on termination. Moreover, most employees we see do not want to stay unemployed long, and taking your job search seriously will likely limit the period of time you will be unemployed. The following is a list of 5 tips for looking for new work.
In Gelston c. Schluter Systems (Canada) Inc., the Superior Court of Quebec reiterated that employers do not need reasonable grounds to terminate senior management employees.
On May 22, 2015, Adjudicator Hart of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded an unprecedented (but certainly warranted) total of $200,000 in damages in O.P.T. and M.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd. and Jose Pratas to two sisters in compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.