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BC Court of Appeal

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).

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).

Can a "professional" have his/her notice entitlement limited to that in the BC Employment Standards Act?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

Mr. Wong, a chartered accountant, was hired by UBC in a newly created position of Controller, commencing on September 3, 2002.

The letter confirming his employment stated that the terms and conditions of his employment would be those found in two agreements that UBC had entered into with the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff. One of these agreements contained the following terms in relation to notice:

An employee terminated during the probationary period for reasons other than just cause shall receive notice or pay in lieu of notice in accordance with the provision of the Employment Standards Act.

UBC ended up not implementing Wong's position and thus his employment was terminated just under 7 months later. UBC took the position that, in accordance with the employment contract, it was required to provide him with only 1 week's pay. However, "out of courtesy", it had paid him 1 month's salary.  read more »