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BC Court of Appeal

BC Appeal Court reviews law on notice period for short service employees and rights under stock option plans

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - High Tech

In Saalfeld v. Absolute Software Corporation, 2009 BCCA 18, the BC Court of Appeal addressed:

  1. the notice period owed to a short service employee; and
  2. an employee's entitlment to stock options during the notice period.

Notice Period

The employee's employment was terminated without cause after approximately nine months of service. She had held a senior software sales position, was 35 years old and earned a base salary of $60,000 with target earnings of $100,000 inclusive of commissions.

The BC Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge's award of a five month notice period, finding that it was not unreasonable given that it took the employee nine months to secure new employment.

However, in a statement that will bring comfort to employers, Madam Justice Huddart  also stated that:  read more »

Are employees entitled to working notice and severance based on employer's previous assurances?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - High Tech

In Ciric v. Raytheon Canada Limited, 2008 BCCA 241, the plaintiff (respondent) had worked for Raytheon for 10 years as a software engineer.

In September 2005, the plaintiff was provided with notice that her employment would be terminated on June 10, 2006. She was told that because the employer had calculated her notice entitlement at 9.4 months, she would, at the time her employment ended, be paid for one additional month if she signed a release.

In May 2006, the plaintiff filed a claim for severance on the basis of assurances provided by the company (both orally and in writing) in January 2004, at a time when it was downsizing at the facility where the she worked.

Specifically, anxious to placate the concerns of its key employees at a time of uncertainty, the company had told them that its practice of paying, at minimum, one month's salary for each year of service would continue to apply to any employees who were laid off in the future (the "Severance Pay Policy").  read more »

Employees not entitled to enforce Employment Standards Act rights in court

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Macaraeg v. E Care Contact Centers Ltd., 2008 BCCA 182, the BC Court of Appeal ruled that employees are not entitled to enforce Employment Standards Act rights in court. Rather, they must enforce these statutory rights through the employment standards complaint process.

The appeal court's decision overturned the decision of Madam Justice Wedge at the trial level (2006 BCSC 1851).

"Senior's forced retirement found to be constructive dismissal by B.C.'s top court"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Forestry

Cristin Schmitz wrote an article entitled "Senior's forced retirement found to be constructive dismissal by B.C.'s top court". It appeared in the February 15, 2008, issue of The Lawyers Weekly. The article reviews the BC Court of Appeal's decision in Fisher v. Lakeland Mills Ltd., 2008 BCCA 42.

"Dismissing the Probationary and Short-term Employee"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Vancouver lawyers Catherine Keri and Simon Kent, with the assistance of Jason Ellis, have written a paper on "Dismissing the Probationary and Short-term Employee: Has the Court recognized the imbalance of power or have judges simply gone to far?" (July 2007). See also the link below.

Among other cases, it addresses the BC Court of Appeal's decision in Jadot v. Concert Industries Ltd., 1997 CanLII 4137 (BC C.A.), which is a leading decision on the standard imposed in law for the dismissal of a probationary employees.

"Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Last Chance Agreements"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

Vancouver lawyer Carmen J. Overholt, Q.C. has prepared a paper entitled "Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Last Chance Agreements".

The paper focuses on the BC Court of Appeal's decision in Health Employers Assn. of B.C. (Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital) v. B.C. Nurses' Union, 2006 BCCA 57 (the Bergen decision).