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Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016

Naomi E. Calla, a lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais, has written an article on the Top 10 Employment Law Cases of 2016. The cases and her brief summaries are:

  1. Paquette v. TeraGo Networks Inc., 2016 ONCA 618 — The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that employees are entitled to their bonus during the reasonable notice period unless there is language in a bonus plan that expressly removes this common law right.
  2. Oudin v. Centre Francophone de Toronto, 2016 ONCA 514 — The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that found an ESA-only termination clause to be enforceable.
  3. Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., 2016 ONCA 79 — The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that awarded dependent contractors 26 months' notice.
  4. TCF Ventures Corporation v. The Cambie, 2016 BCSC 1521 — The British Columbia Superior Court reminded us of the perils of mischaracterizing a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee.
  5. Joshi v. National Bank of Canada, 2016 ONSC 3510 — A motions judge found that an allegation of failing to provide an employee with an opportunity to respond to or participate in a workplace investigation could support a cause of action for bad faith.
  6. Howard v. Benson Group, 2016 ONCA 256 — The Ontario Court of Appeal reminded us that where a fixed-term contract is terminated prior to the end of its term, and there is no early termination clause, the employee is entitled to payment to the end of the term and is not obligated to mitigate.
  7. Computer Enhancement v. J.C. Options, 2016 ONSC 452 — An excellent examination of the enforceability of restrictive covenants and the return of the key employee doctrine.
  8. Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2016 SCC 29 — The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Canada Labour Code only permits federally regulated employees to be dismissed with cause.
  9. Gordon v. Altus, 2015 ONSC 5663 — Punitive damages were awarded by an Ontario Superior Court where an employer falsely alleged cause at the time of termination.
  10. Shoan v. Attorney General of Canada, 2016 FC 1003. This decision is an excellent reminder of the importance of conducting a fair and unbiased workplace investigation. Here, Shoan was a Commissioner with the CRTC. A colleague filed a harassment complaint against him pursuant to the CRTC's Harassment Policy, in relation to a series of emails that he had sent her that she alleged were humiliating and undermined her credibility. An external investigator was retained who ultimately found that Commissioner Shoan's behaviour constituted harassment. The Chairman of the CRTC received and reviewed the Investigation Report and accepted it, and implemented corrective measures vis-à-vis Commissioner Shoan. Commissioner Shoan then commenced a judicial review of the Chairman's acceptance of the Investigation Report, on the basis that the standard of procedural fairness had not been met.