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"Charge to the Jury" on awarding aggravated damages in Alberta wrongful dismissal case

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Elgert v. Home Hardware Stores Limited, 2010 ABQB 220 - this is further to my previous two posts - the judge also recited his Charge to the Jury on the issue of aggravated damages at para. 62:

On aggravated damages, the Charge to the Jury reflected an employer's obligation of good faith and fair dealing and the recognition that when an employment relationship ruptures, the employee is at his most vulnerable and in most need of protection. This was described in my Charge to the Jury at pages 19 - 20 which reads:-

69.       As stated earlier, an employer has a duty of good faith and fair dealing to its employee, both during employment and during termination. An employer also has a duty to be candid, reasonable, honest and forthright in the course of dismissal and refrain from untruthful, misleading or unduly insensitive behavior. If the employer engages in bad faith conduct during the course of employment or during dismissal, that may entitle the employee to additional damages. These damages are known as aggravated damages.

70.       The law also recognizes that employees are to be treated with dignity and respect because employment relationships help define an individual employee's self worth. If an employee suffers humiliation, embarrassment or damage to self esteem over and above the usual hurt feelings any employee would feel when dismissed, that employee may be entitled to additional damages over and above the notice period. Note that an employee's normal distress and hurt feelings resulting from dismissal are not compensable by aggravated damages. Aggravated damages are meant to address tangible and intangible losses flowing from bad faith acts of the employer or unduly insensitive dealing by the employer.

71.       If you find that Home Hardware is liable for aggravated damages, any award you make should be fair and reasonable to both Dan Elgert and Home Hardware. The amount of damages is for you to decide, but must fall within the range of $0 to $200,000

(The $200,000 cap was again based on submissions by the parties).