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Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016

Naomi E. Calla, a lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais, has written an article on the Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016. The cases and her brief summaries are:  read more »

Director of company breached fiduciary duties in approving own excessive compensation package

In Unique Broadband Systems, Inc. (Re), 2014 ONCA 538, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a director of a company breached his fiduciary duties in approving an excessive compensation package for himself and the other directors and that his actions were not protected by the business judgment rule.  

Bonus programs may encourage employees to cheat, journal paper concludes

Bucking conventional human resources wisdom, a recent academic paper has concluded that bonus programs may encourage employees to cheat more than other types of performance pay systems.

The paper - titled "Are You Paying Your Employees to Cheat? An Experimental Investigation" - was published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy in April 2010 ("B.E." stand for Berkeley Electronic).

The paper's abstract explains the experiment that was employed as follows:

We compare, through a laboratory experiment using salient financial incentives, misrepresentations of performance under target-based compensation with those under both a linear piece-rate and a tournament-based bonus system. An anagram game was employed as the experimental task. Results show that productivity was similar and statistically indistinguishable under the three schemes.

The abstract then goes on to state the following about the researchers' findings:  read more »

65 year old employee with 40 years service awarded 20 months notice; pension payments not deducted

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - High Tech

In Waterman v. IBM Canada Limited, 2010 BCSC 376, a 65 year old employee with 40 years of service was awarded a 20 month notice period. At the time of dismissal, the employee had had no plans to retire.

In reaching its decision, the BC Supreme Court addressed the following issues of interest:

  1. the impact of the character of employment on the notice period;
  2. the impact of health problems on the notice period;
  3. compensation for lost stock purchases over the notice period; and
  4. whether pension benefits received over the notice period should be deducted from the damages award.

Character of Employment
 read more »

48 year-old middle manager with 21 months service awarded 9 month notice period

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Mackie v. West Coast Engineering Group Ltd., 2009 BCSC 1775, the 48 year-old middle manager with 21 months service and an annual base salary of $57,500, was awarded a notice period of nine months.

Notice Period

The court noted that the law is clear that a dismissed employee cannot be compensated in damages for the loss of a job or for the pain and distress that follows as a result of the dismissal. The court also stated that the "unique" factor relating to the impact of the dismissal on the employee's family was not one to be given much weight in determining the length of the notice period.

That said, the manner in which the employee was dismissed and the impact it had on him and his family were undoubtedly what led to the court to award a notice period of nine months, which was at the high end of what the employee was seeking. Specifically:  read more »

"The Wrongful Dismissal Manual"

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has published "The Wrongful Dismissal Manual" (October 2009), which is "designed to provide employers with guidance on the general statutoryand common law principles applicable whenever an employee's employment is terminated in Canada's four main business jurisdictions: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec."