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Employment Contracts

"Executive Employment Terminations"

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

Lawyers Brian Thiessen and Scott Sweatman, at the Calgary office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, have written a paper on "Executive Employment Terminations" (May 28, 2008). The paper focuses on issues pertaining to: (1) Stock Options; (2) Bonuses; and (3) Pension Entitlements.

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 »

"The Common Employer"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Vancouver lawyer Simon Kent presented a paper entitled "The Common Employer" for the April 2008 Employment Law Conference. The Table of Contents included the following topics:  read more »

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 »