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Duties of Employees

Employer receives $11.4 million in damages for former employees wrongful resignation, breach of fiduciary duties

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

I'm extremely slow off the mark on reporting on this case, given that it was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in September 2009.

However, the decision in GasTOPS Ltd. v. Forsyth, 2009 CanLII 66153 (ON S.C.) - which has been called "a treatise of judicial guidance on both wrongful resignation and who is a fiduciary, and the damages which from both" by one legal commentator - demands inclusion in the blog, even at this late date.

Briefly put, it saw an employer who sued four of its former employees for wrongful resignation and breach of fiduciary duties receive a damages award of $11.4 million. The employees had departed after giving only two weeks notice to set up/work in their own company, which competed with GasTOPS.

The judgment is apparently currently the subject of both an appeal and across-appeal.  read more »

Presentation: "The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key Developments"

I presented a paper on The Law on Workplace Investigations: An Update on Key
today at the BC "Employment Law Conference 2010" Continuing Legal Education (CLE). The paper can be found at the bottom of this post. The topics I covered were:

  1. Does an Employer Have a Common Law Duty to Provide the Employee with a Fair Hearing/Conduct an Investigation?
  2. What Exposure to Liability/Damages Does an Employer Face for Failing to Properly Conduct an Investigation?
  3. Conducting the Investigation
  4. The Use of Lawyers as Expert Witnesses on Workplace Investigations
  5. Recovery of Costs Associated With Investigating Criminal Wrongdoing
  6. What Duties do Employees Have in Relation to Workplace Investigations?
  7. Privilege Concerns and Workplace Investigations

The last time I presented at the Employment Law CLE - in 2006 - my topic was Reference Letters.

"Fiduciary Obligations of Former Employees in the Oil & Gas Industry"

Sector: - Oil & Gas

Two lawyers at Blakes have published a memorandum that addresses "Fiduciary Obligations of Former Employees in the Oil & Gas Industry". The memo is undated but appears to have been written in 2007 or later, based on the cases cited.

"Employees Obligations to Their Employers"

Lauren M. Bernardi has written an article on, "Employees Obligations to Their Employers" (undated).

Ms. Bernardi is a a lawyer and human resource advisor with the Mississauga firm of Bernardi Human Resource Law.

Relationships that give rise to fiduciary obligations

In a previous post, I mentioned that Justice Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada spoke about fiduciary duties in the employment context at the "10th Annual Employment Summit" in Toronto.

Specifically, he referred to recent cases before the Court in which fiduciary duties had been alleged: RBC Dominion Securities Inc. v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., 2008 SCC 54 and Galambos v. Perez, 2009 SCC 48.

What type of relationships will give rise to fiduciary duties?

In the leading case of Lac Minerals Ltd. v. International Corona Resources Ltd., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 574, which is not an employment law case, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that relationships in which a fiduciary duties have been imposed generally, although not always, share three general characteristics:  read more »

Ontario's "10th Annual Employment Law Summit"

I attended the Law Society of Upper Canada's "10th Annual Employment Law Summit" in Toronto today.

The keynote speaker was the Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada. He focused his comments on two recent cases in which the SCC has addressed fiduciary duties in the employment context:  read more »

"The Law of Trade Secrets in Quebec and Canada: A Pragmatic Approach"

Jurisdiction: - Quebec

Quebec lawyers Julie Desrosiers & Marc-André Nadon have written a paper entitled, "The Law of Trade Secrets in Quebec and Canada: A Pragmatic Approach" (undated). The paper is undated, but based on the citations was written in 2008 or later.

The subject matter of the paper is described as follows:  read more »