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Repudiation

"Changing Employment Terms—Developments in Constructive Dismissal"

"Changing Employment Terms—Developments in Constructive Dismissal" is the title of a paper that Richard E. Press of Davis LLP in Vancouver, BC prepared for the Employment Law Conference held on May 2011 (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia).

The Table of Contents is as follows:

  • Constructive Dismissal-The Basics
  • Responding to Repudiation of the Employment Agreement
  • Condoning Changed Terms.
  • Non-Legal Strategies to Have an Employee Accept Changed Terms

Employee on maternity leave was constructively dismissed when employer took steps to dissolve operations

In Lewis v. Terrace Tourism Society, 2010 BCCA 346, the majority of the BC Court of
Appeal found that the Executive Director ("ED") of the Tourism Terrace Society (the "Society") was constructively dismissed when the Society took steps to dissolve its operations while she was on maternity leave.

Background

The ED commenced her employment with the Society in May 2004.

At the end of 2006, she started a maternity leave that was scheduled to run until January 2008. An interim ED was hired to replace her.

Two weeks after the ED commenced her maternity leave, the Society determined that it was in dire financial straits. It took several immediate steps to deal with the situation, including laying off the interim executive director and removing the ED's signing authority on its bank accounts.

A month later, the Society passed a "dissolution" resolution in which it voted to:  read more »

Employee’s treatment for drug addiction/fragile health factored into calculation of reasonable notice period

In Pereira v. The Business Depot Ltd., 2009 BCSC 1178, the court factored in the employee's recent release from a drug addiction treatment centre, and his vulnerable state of health generally, in determining the reasonable notice period.

Background  

The employee started working at Staples in 1997, after being recruited from another company. He was eventually promoted to general manager of the Nanaimo location.

Prior to June 2003, he was regarded as a good performer. However, starting at this time his professional conduct took a dramatic turn, as was repeatedly late for work, sometimes would not show up at all or would leave mid day for extended periods.  The employee eventually advised his district manager that he was depressed, fatigued and very unwell.  read more »

Senior employee's refusal to submit budget with head office's desired profit projections not cause for dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Adams v. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., 2009 BCSC 681, the BC Supreme Court found that the employer did not have cause to dismiss a senior employee because of her refusal to prepare an annual budget that that included the employer's desired profit projections.

In doing so, the court reviewed the law on insubordination, and when it can amount to cause for dismissal in light of the "contextual approach" that was mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada in McKinley v. BC Tel, 2001 SCC 38.

Background

The plaintiff was the General Manager of a hotel that was part of a luxury chain. At the time her employment was terminated she was 41, had 12 years of service and was earning approximately $150,000 per year (exclusive of bonuses and benefits).

The hotel chain's corporate office (the "employer") alleged that it had cause to dismiss the plaintiff for insubordination because:  read more »

Constructive dismissal not found where employee waited 2 years to accept employer's repudiation of the contract

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Forestry

In ruling that the 59 year-old management employee in Robertson v. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., 2009 BCSC 602, was not constructivley dismissed the BC Supreme Court made the following findings:  read more »