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Retail Trade

Alberta jury awards almost $1 million in damages to employee dismissed for sexual harassment

The case of Elgert v. Home Hardware Stores Limited, 2010 ABQB 73 (CanLII), concerned a senior employee in a management position was dismissed for just cause based on alleged sexually harassment and insubordination. At the time, he had worked for Home Hardware for almost 17 years and was over the age of 50.

The alleged incidents occurred in late 2001/early2002 at the Home Hardware distribution centre in Wetaskiwin, an hour's drive from Edmonton.

The first complainant alleged that the Plaintiff, Mr. Elgert, pushed her into a dark storage room, pushed her up against a table, held her hands down and wiggled his body between her legs.

The second compliant alleged that a few months later while she was cleaning a first aid room in the warehouse, the Plaintiff entered the room, turned off the light and shut the door. He then bumped her backwards until she fell onto a cot. He laid on top of her, and lingered there.

One of the complainants was the daughter of the head of the distribution centre.  read more »

BC Court of Appeal overturns award of $100,000 in punitive damages to apprentice employee

In Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd., 2010 BCCA 29, the BC Court of Appeal:

  1. overturned the trial judge's award of $100,000 in punitive damages;
  2. upheld the trial judge's award of $25,000 in consequential damages;
  3. upheld the trial judge's decision to not award moral damages; and    
  4. remitted the matter back to the BC Supreme Court to determine the notice period.

This appears to the second written employment law decision issued by the BC Court of Appeal in 2010. The first was Davidson v. Tahtsa Timber Ltd., 2010 BCCA 12, which dealt with a procedural matter.

Background  read more »

No just cause for dismissal but notice limited to that set out in the Associate Handbook

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

Arasteh v. Best Buy Canada Ltd., 2010 BCSC 48

(Note: In a recent Saskatchewan case - Fox v. Silver Sage Housing Corporation, 2008 SKQB 321 - it was found that an employee was not bound by the termination provisions in a policy manual that had been introduced 13 years after he commenced employment.)

Employee’s treatment for drug addiction/fragile health factored into calculation of reasonable notice period

In Pereira v. The Business Depot Ltd., 2009 BCSC 1178, the court factored in the employee's recent release from a drug addiction treatment centre, and his vulnerable state of health generally, in determining the reasonable notice period.

Background  

The employee started working at Staples in 1997, after being recruited from another company. He was eventually promoted to general manager of the Nanaimo location.

Prior to June 2003, he was regarded as a good performer. However, starting at this time his professional conduct took a dramatic turn, as was repeatedly late for work, sometimes would not show up at all or would leave mid day for extended periods.  The employee eventually advised his district manager that he was depressed, fatigued and very unwell.  read more »

Double costs awarded against employer for failing to accept employee's settlement offers in wrongful dismissal case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Hutson v. Michaels of Canada, ULC, 2009 BCSC 1587, the court awarded the dismissed employee "double" court costs because of the employer's failure to accept the employee's pre-trial settlement offers.

Background

The decision dealing with the merits of the wrongful dismissal lawsuit was delivered orally by the BC Supreme Court on September 18, 2009. This decision does not appear to be reported. The decision dealing with the costs award is reported and offers some information about the merits of the lawsuit.

The employee was dismissed for just cause on August 29, 2005 because of an altercation with/alleged assault on another employee. He had approximately 12 years of service.

In October 2005, the employee (through his lawyer) offered to settle the matter for $100,000. The employer did not accept the offer.

In January 2006, the employee commenced his lawsuit.  read more »

Appeal Court rules that franchisee and its employees were carrying out Petro-Canada’s work for purposes of WCB Act

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Oil & Gas - Retail Trade

In Petro-Canada v. British Columbia (Workers' Compensation Board), 2009 BCCA 396, the BC Court of Appeal ruled that a franchisee and its employees were carrying out Petro-Canada’s work for purposes of WCB Act.  You can read a summary of the case ("Vicarious Liability - Franchisor as "Employer"") by Davis LLP here.

Employer must pay damages to employee for "false imprisonment" during theft investigation

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Kalsi v. Greater Vancouver Associate Stores Ltd. 2009 BCSC 287, the BC Supreme Court awarded a fired employee $6,500 in damages for "false imprisonment" during the employer's theft investigation.

Mr. Kalsi had been employed as a mechanic by a Canadian Tire store for 16 years. He was 36 years old and off work on disability at the time the incident occurred.

Specifically, he was accused by the store's security officer of attending to the store on May 20, 2005 and stealing a light bulb for his vehicle.

After confronting Mr. Kalsi, the security officer told Mr. Kalsi to follow him up to the lunchroom. It was Mr. Kalsi's evidence that, once in the lunchroom:  read more »