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Punitive Damages

BC Court awards employee almost $40,000 in unpaid overtime going back six years

In Stastny v. Dependable Turbines Ltd. 2009 BCSC 1648,  the court addressed the notice period, a claim for unpaid overtime and a claim for aggravated or punitive damages.

Notice Period

The 51 year old machinist with 20 years service was dismissed without cause. The court awarded him a notice period of 15 months.  The fact that the employee had been laid off and rehired on several occasions did not, the court concluded, effect the duration of his employment for the purposes of calculating his notice period.

Unpaid Overtime

The employee had regularly worked more than 40 years a week but had not received overtime pay. This was confirmed by time sheets produced by the employer, which showed that the employee only received his regular wage for overtime hours worked. The employer argued that it had an agreement with the employee to this effect.  read more »

"Is Wallace Dead? The Keays to the Mystery Damages in Wrongful Dismissal Revisited"

Two lawyers at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP in Toronto have co-authored a paper entitled "Is Wallace Dead? The Keays to the Mystery Damages in Wrongful Dismissal Revisited" (2009). It addresses the following cases:

  1. Vorvis v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia,
  2. Wallace, v. United Grain Growers Ltd.,
  3. Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, and
  4. the Ontario Superior Court of Justice's decision in Piresferreira v. Ayotte and Bell Mobility Inc.

"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."

Apprentice employee awarded $100,000 in punitive damages because employer covered up real reasons for dismissal

The decision in Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. 2009 BCSC 400, is noteworthy for four reasons:

  1. it involved an Apprenticeship Agreement made pursuant to the BC Industry Training and Apprenticeship Act:
  2. the dismissed employee was awarded $25,000 in consequential damages because of his apprentice status;
  3. the dismissed employee was awarded $100,000 in punitive damages; and
  4. the dismissed employee was awarded special costs.

Background

In November 2002, the plaintiff, a recent high school grad, entered into an apprenticeship agreement with the defendant car dealership (the "Employer") under the BC Industry Training and Apprenticeship Act. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement and the provisions of the Act:  read more »

"Back to Basics in Employment Law: Restatement & Harmonization of Damages in the Employment Setting"

Murray Tevlin and John Chesko  have written a paper entitled, "Back to Basics in Employment Law: Restatement & Harmonization of Damages in the Employment Setting" (January 24, 2009).

The authors are lawyers at TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies in Vancouver, The paper was presented the paper at Insight Canada's 4th Annual Western Canada Labour Relations Conference.

The paper's Overview provides:

This paper proceeds to consider two important recent advances in the theory of damages both in common law and in unionized employment settings.

The first part of this paper discusses the significant restatement and harmonization in the law of damages for wrongful dismissal set out in the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Honda v Keays [2008] SCJ No 40.  read more »

Supreme Court of Canada modifies law on Wallace Damages

On June 27, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated decision in Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays 2008 SCC 39.

In the decision, which some view as a victory for employers, the court modified the manner in which Wallace damages are calculated and provided further clarification on when they, along punitive damages, should be awarded in the employment context.

As part of its analysis on Wallace damages, the SCC also provided some guidance to employers on the extent of their right to medical information in accommodation cases.

Background

Mr. Keays had been employed by Honda for 14 years when his employment was terminated in March 2000. At the time, he was in a data entry position.  read more »

"Can or Does a Human Rights Violation Ground a Punitive Damages Award in a Wrongful Dismissal Case?"

James D. Kondopulos of Roper Greyell LLP in Vancouver, has written a paper titled, "Can or Does a Human Rights Violation Ground a Punitive Damages Award in a Wrongful Dismissal Case?"

The paper was written for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia conference, "Employment Law Conference - 2007", held on June 1, 2007.