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Duty to Mitigate

Employee-shareholder dismissed for cause awarded damages for improper invocation of Shareholders' Agreement

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

In Link v. Venture Steel Inc. and Ruben Rivas, 2010 ONCA 144 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision in which a former Vice-President of Sales was awarded more than $4 million in damages, most of which related to company shares the employer had improperly purchased, pursuant to a Shareholders' Agreement, at the time it dismissed the employee for just cause.

The case also addressed the issue of how non-competition and non-solicitation provisions in a Shareholders Agreement will impact on a court's analysis of whether an employee's mitigation efforts were reasonable.

Lawyers at Fasken Martineau has prepared a summary of the case ("Beware the Perils of Firing Employee-Shareholders", June 22, 2010) that can be found here

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 »

BC Government releases latest facts on jobs and wages

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Ministry of Labour periodically issues a brief report entitled, "The Facts on Jobs and Wages in B.C." Based on this site, it appears to have started the practice in January 2009.

The latest report was issued today and sets out the following "facts on job creation and the wages earned by B.C. workers":  read more »

The Top 10 Canadian court cases on wrongful dismissal and employment law

For an upcoming audio conference, Lancaster House has listed what it believes are the Top 10 Canadian cases (actually 13) on wrongful dismissal and employment law. In no particular order, it appears, the cases and the issues they address are:  read more »

Employee’s refusal to extend Return to Work Agreement, acknowledge alcohol dependency, not just cause

In Taylor v. New Westminster (City) (Vancouver Registry S084283, August 19, 2009), the court found that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who refused to sign an extension to a Return to Work Agreement that required him to acknowledge that he had an alcohol dependency.

Background

At the time of his dismissal, the employee was 54 years old, had 16 years of service and earned a salary of approximately $90,000 per annum. He was Manager of Fleet Services, a safety sensitive position in that he supervised a team of mechanics who performed maintenance and repair work on the employer's various vehicles, including those for the fire and police departments.

Until February 2007, the employee had "an excellent work history" and the employer had "no concerns about his safety in the workplace" (para. 9).

The Incident  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."

British Columbia's unemployment rate hits 8.3% in October

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Stats Canada released its October 2009 Labour Force Survey yesterday. Notable facts include:

  • Nationally, "employment decreased by 43,000 in October, all in part time. This drop
    pushed the unemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to 8.6%."
  • The largest employment losses occurred in Alberta and BC.
  • In October, British Columbia's employment declined by 13,000.
  • This employment loss in BC, coupled with a slight increase in the labour force, pushed the unemployment rate in the province to 8.3%, up 0.9 percentage points from September.
  • Over the past 12 months, employment in BC has fallen by 2.2% (-52,000).

The next release of the Labour Force Survey will be on December 4, 2009.