Sunday, 24 July 2016

No Cause? Then No Dismissal for Non-Unionized Federal Employees – The Supreme Court of Canada Shakes Up Canadian Employment Law

At the end of 2015, I proclaimed the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to grant leave to appeal from a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal the most important decision to Canadian employment law of that year. (See Top Five Cases of Importance to Ontario Employment Law - 2015.) My reason for doing so was simple:

The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2015 FCA 17 was unanimous: A federally regulated employer can dismiss an employee without cause. While that statement may sound obvious, given the provisions of section 240 of the Canada Labour Code the same was far from a given. Indeed, given the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeal I would suggest that it still is not.

It is the fact that the Supremes are willing to hear the appeal, which was unanimous, and which upheld a previous decision of the Federal Court suggests to me that the Supreme Court of Canada is not entirely certain that the Federal Court got it right.

Although I somewhat reserved my prediction on matters, it would turn out I was right: The Supremes did grant leave because they doubted the correctness of the Federal Court of Appeal's decision.

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) laid down its decision in the case of Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2016 SCC 29 (CanLII).

In doing so, the Supreme Court has finally settled years of debate among Canada’s employment lawyers as to whether non-unionized federally regulated employees can be let go without cause, with a resounding “No!”.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Doubling Down Damages – The Ontario Court of Appeal Sends Strong Message to Discriminatory Employers

What is the penalty for embarking on a “campaign of abuse”, intentionally designed to force a disabled employee to quit her job? In a June 2016 decision from the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Strudwick v. Applied Consumer & Clinical Evaluations Inc., 2016 ONCA 520 (CanLII), Ontario’s highest court awarded nearly a quarter million dollars plus costs following the wrongful dismissal of a long-term employee who has harassed and belittled by her employer after losing her hearing.