Sunday, 12 February 2017

Supreme Court of Canada Denies Leave to Appeal in Oudin: But Does That Really Mean Anything?

(c) istock/kenta210

On February 2, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada denied the application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Oudin v. Centre Francophone de Toronto, 2016 ONCA 514, dated June 28, 2016. As is customary of the Supreme Court, no reasons for the decision to deny leave were provided.

I previously blogged about the Oudin decision in the post The ONCA’s Decision in Oudin v. CFT Leaves One 'Wundering' – Is Wunderman Dead?, which was actually cited to the Supreme Court by the Applicant as one reason leave should be granted.

So what does the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave really mean for Ontario employment law?

Saturday, 4 February 2017

No Aggravated Damages Absent Evidence of Mental Distress: Divisional Court

(c) istock/MarkLevant

Can a trial court award aggravated damages to an employee who claims wrongful dismissal absent a finding of actual mental distress being suffered by that employee? That was the question answered by the Honourable Mr. Justice Robert N. Beaudoin, sitting as a judge of the Ontario Divisional Court, in the case of Walker v Hulse, Playfair and McGarry, 2017 ONSC 358 (CanLII).

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Ottawa Small Claims Court Awards $4,000 in Punitive Damages after Employer Falsely Alleges Just Cause

Truth or Consequences was an American television show originally hosted on NBC radio by Ralph Edwards (1940–1957) and later on television by Edwards (1950–1954), Jack Bailey (1954–1955), Bob Barker (1956–1975), Bob Hilton (1977–1978) and Larry Anderson (1987–1988). The television show ran on CBS, NBC and also in syndication. The premise of the show was to mix the original quiz element of game shows with wacky stunts.

The title “Truth or Consequences” serves as an appropriate introduction to the issue of what happens when an employer concocts reasons for termination after being served with an employee’s claim of wrongful dismissal.

The question answered by this post is: What is the penalty to an employer for concocting an allegation of theft in order to justify an allegation of just cause for termination? In a case from the Ottawa Small Claims Court, Budge v Dickie Moore Rental Inc, 2017 CanLII 468 (ON SCSM), the answer was $4,000 in punitive damages.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Voluntary Resignation Results in Forfeiture of Bonus: ONSC

(c) istock/ognianm

“Got to pack my, things and go / Move fast not slow / That dog is mine.” Those are the opening lyrics to the song “The Dog is Mine” by Canadian rapper k-os. It’s a catchy song.

Those lyrics provide a great introduction not only to “The Dog is Mine”, they also provide a great introduction to the subject of whether an employee who voluntarily resigns from his employment is entitled to an earned but not yet paid incentive bonus.

In Bois v MD Physician Services Inc., 2016 ONSC 8133 (CanLII), the Honourable Madam Justice Sylvia Corthorn of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was tasked with answering the following legal question: If an employee is entitled to earn a bonus payment pursuant to the terms of a written employment contract, but a requirement of that employment contract - and a material condition precedent to the actual payment of the bonus - is that the employee must be “actively employed” on the date that the bonus payment is to be made by the employer, is the employee nonetheless entitled to the receipt of the earned but not yet paid bonus payment if he voluntarily resigns from his employment prior to the date on which the bonus payment is made? Put another way, can you still get your bonus if you quit before it's paid to you?

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Ontario Employers’ Ability to Claim Indemnification from Their Employees for Employee Negligence

(c) istock/nomangarden

Can an employee be sued by his employer if, by his own negligent actions, he causes his employer to suffer a financial loss? In legalese, at Ontario common law, if an employer is found vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its employee, in which negligence the employer was no way contributorily negligent, can the employer successfully make claim for indemnification from its employee?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ontario Judge Finds Temporary Coverage Employee Entitled to Balance of One-Year Contract

(c) istock/kellyvandellen

When is a contract to cover someone’s maternity leave a fixed-term employment contract? That was the question that the Honourable Justice Sidney N. Lederman of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to resolve in the case of Ballim v Bausch & Lomb Canada Inc., 2016 ONSC 6307 (CanLII).

In short, the answer is: While an indefinite contract with a termination clause is just what it sounds, so is a “one-year contract”. The lesson for employers is be careful what words you use.

A Call for the Celebration of Boxing Day

(c) istock/DragonImages

Here is a controversial statement: Boxing Day is far more deserving of public holiday status than is Christmas Day. Who would dare say such a thing? I would.

Before researching the subject of Boxing Day, I had planned to argue for its removal from the list of designated public holidays in Ontario. I intended to propose that the public holiday be moved from December 26 to a Friday in June for essentially three reasons:

  1. Few people know the significance of Boxing Day;
  2. There are already too many holidays between December 25 and January 1; and
  3. The month of June sure could use a ‘stat.’

All of those points remain valid. The month of June really could use a long weekend and three holidays in one week sure does seem like a lot. All of which leads me to conclude that perhaps Christmas Day should no longer be a statutory public holiday. (For more of my thoughts on this subject see my earlier post Opinion: Seeking Retail Honesty.) I’ll probably write more about that subject later, but I am serious when I say that I would honestly propose to remove Christmas Day from the list of statutory public holidays – especially if it was in favour of a June long weekend.

I know what you are likely now thinking, ‘you are proposing to remove Christmas Day from the list of public holidays, but Boxing Day, the day on which we now lineup in the wee morning hours to buy electronics, should remain a designated public holiday?!’

Trust me, once you understand the historical significance of Boxing Day, you will agree that the day is far more deserving of public holiday status than is Christmas Day.