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Wrongful Dismissal

Probation clause could not be relied on where employment offer rescinded

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Media

In Buchanan v. Introjunction Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1002, the BC Supreme Court ruled that a defendant could not rely on a probation clause to justify early termination where the offer of employment was rescinded after the contract was entered into, but before the official first day of employment. The court found that the probation clause had not yet taken effect as employment had not started. Additionally, there was no means for the employer to have assessed the employee’s performance and terminated them for lack of suitability. The court awarded the plaintiff damages of six weeks’ salary. 

Employee failed to mitigate by retraining rather than apply for comparable roles available at former employer

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Manufacturing

In Benjamin v Cascades Canada ULC, 2017 ONSC 2583, a decision issued on April 27, 2017, the Superior Court of Justice - Ontario found that the plainitff former employee, Benjamin, failed to reasonably mitigate his damages by choosing to retrain rather than apply for the comparable positions available to him at his former employer, Cascades.

Specifically, the court stated:

[161]      It is not contested that there were comparable jobs available for Benjamin to seek at Cascades, given the comparable remuneration and his work experience as an unskilled general labourer. It is not contested that Benjamin "could have" procured any of the three available comparable positions.  read more »

Aggravated damages awarded in absence of medical evidence

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Cottrill v. Utopia Day Spas and Salons Ltd., 2017 BCSC 704, aggravated damages of $15,000 were awarded against a defendant for failing to be fair in its assessment of the plaintiff’s performance in the lead up to its decision to terminate her for cause.

This continues a recent trend in wrongful dismissal cases of aggravated damages being awarded for treatment seen by the court as unfair in the absence of medical evidence (see also Johnson v. Marine Roofing Repair & Maintenance Service (2003) Ltd., 2015 BCSC 472 for a similar result).