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Wrongful Dismissal

"Are Pension Benefits Deductible From Wrongful Dismissal Damages?"

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

John D. Campbell and Stephanie L. Turnham have written an article entitled "Are Pension Benefits Deductible From Wrongful Dismissal Damages?" (October 2010). They are lawyers at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto. The article was published in Canadian Corporate Counsel magazine.

In the article, the authors state that:

In Ontario, and generally throughout the common law provinces of Canada, the current consensus is that pension benefits received during the notice period are not to be deducted from wrongful dismissal damages".

They go on to state, however:  read more »

Employer did not have just cause to dismiss VP Finance it alleged was insolent, insubordinate and lacked judgment

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Manufacturing

In Kokilev v. Picquic Tool Company Inc., 2010 BCSC 1412, the BC Supreme Court ruled that an employer did not have just cause to dismiss its VP Finance on the basis that he was insolent, insubordinate and lacked judgment.

At the time his employment was terminated, the VP Finance had almost eight years of service, earned $100,000 annually and was approximately 41 years old. The court awarded him a 10 month notice period.

(Postscript: James D. Kondopulos, a lawyer at Roper Greyell in Vancouver, has written a summary of the case that can be found here: "Dealing with the Insolent, Insubordinate or Disobedient Employee". The article first appeared in the B.C. Human Resources Management Association's HRVoice Magazine (March 2011)).

Supervisor's defamatory appraisal of dismissed employee protected by qualified privilege

In Dawydiuk v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2010 BCCA 353, the BC Court of Appeal addressed whether the contents of an email written by a dismissed employee's supervisor were defamatory and , if so, whether they were  protected by the defence of qualified privilege.

Background 

Ms. Dawydiuk began her employment with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ("ICBC") in 1988 as a clerk. At the time of her dismissal in 2004, she was 38 years-old and in a managerial position.

Ms. Dawydiuk had been off work since June 2003, first on a sick leave and then on a maternity/parental leave.  She was scheduled to return to work on October 4, 2004.

On July 5, 2004, while still on leave, Ms.Dawydiuk was phoned by her supervisor and advised of a restructuring that had resulted in her position being eliminated. Her supervisor advised her of two other available managerial positions, however, and asked her to let him know which one she would like.  read more »

Former Vancouver police officer obtains $2 million out of court settlement in wrongful dismissal case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Public Safety

Both the Vancouver Sun and Globe and Mail newspapers carried stories this week about former Vancouver police officer Allen Dalstrom obtaining a $2 million out of court settlement in relation to a wrongful dismissal case.

This is a significant settlement in any wrongful dismissal case, particularly one involving a police officer who is reported to have been earning about $100,000 a year.

Although this week's media stories provide a lot of the colour about the case, I relied mainly on the decision in Dalstrom v. Organized Crime Agency of BC, 2008 BCSC 844, which dealt with a pre-trial application, for my summary of the facts and proceedings below.  

Background

Dalstrom was a long term police officer with the Vancouver Police Department. In 2000, he was recruited to join the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia ("OCABC").

The OCABC is responsible for combating organized crime in BC and Dalstrom was appointed supervisor of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Team.  read more »

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-shareholder dismissed for cause awarded damages for improper invocation of Shareholders' Agreement

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

In Link v. Venture Steel Inc. and Ruben Rivas, 2010 ONCA 144 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision in which a former Vice-President of Sales was awarded more than $4 million in damages, most of which related to company shares the employer had improperly purchased, pursuant to a Shareholders' Agreement, at the time it dismissed the employee for just cause.

The case also addressed the issue of how non-competition and non-solicitation provisions in a Shareholders Agreement will impact on a court's analysis of whether an employee's mitigation efforts were reasonable.

Lawyers at Fasken Martineau has prepared a summary of the case ("Beware the Perils of Firing Employee-Shareholders", June 22, 2010) that can be found here