Commissioned sales consultant operating through own corporation entitled to reasonable notice of termination
In Braiden v. La-Z-Boy Canada Limited, 2008 ONCA 464, the plaintiff, Braiden, had worked for La-Z-Boy Canada Limited for almost 23 years as a furniture sales consultant when La-Z-Boy ended the employment relationship.
Termination was effected pursuant to a 60-day notice provision in an agreement between La-Z-Boy and Gordon Braiden Sales Inc., a corporation owned by Braiden. The agreement expressly stated that Braiden was an "independent contractor".
The trial judge ruled that:
- given the extent of La-Z-Boy's control over Braiden's functions and activities, an employer/employee relationship existed between La-Z-Boy and Braiden.
- the 60-day notice provision in the agreement was null and void.
- the reasonable notice period was 20 months, in light of Braiden's age (53) and years of service to La-Z-Boy.
The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge's decision.
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.
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.
Quebec lawyer Alain P. Lecours has written an overview of the "Rules & Principles Governing Dismissals in Québec" (May 2007).