Saturday, 24 September 2016

Being "Reckless With the Truth" Not Just Cause for Termination

(c) istock/ChesiireCat

Is “being reckless with the truth” as to whether a client has insurance coverage “just cause” for the termination of an insurance broker’s employment?

That was one of the questions that the Honourable Mr. Justice Ronald M. Laliberte Jr. was asked to resolve in the case of Cassell v. Irving H. Miller Limited, 2016 ONSC 5570 (CanLII).

Although the employer felt very strongly about having just cause for termination, Mr. Justice Laliberte saw things differently.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Will Wood Finally Answer the Question of Benefits? There’s Hope.

This post will break from tradition. Rather than be a post about something that has happened, it will be an anticipatory post about something that is expected to happen.

On September 6, 2016, the Court of Appeal for Ontario heard the appeal of the decision reached by Mr. Justice Grant Dow of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., 2016 ONSC 1412 (CanLII). Should the court choose to answer all of the questions put to it by the appellant, then I have no doubt that the decision will fundamentally alter the landscape of Ontario employment law.

UPDATE: On February 23, 2017, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its much anticipated decision in Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., 2017 ONCA 158 (CanLII). For analysis of that decision, see my post: Court of Appeal Finally Brings Much Needed Clarity to Issue of Benefits in Contractual Termination Provisions.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Emotional Upset Not Enough for Award of General Damages: ONCA

Image (c) istock/Rawpixel Ltd.

If being accused of breaking the law “takes a serious toll” on you, causing you “emotional upset”, can you successfully sue the person that caused that harm?

It is trite to observe that being accused of something that you did not do is likely to cause feelings of serious upset. In employment law, this scenario arises most frequently when an employer alleges “just cause” for the termination of an employee’s employment. But what do the courts have to say about this issue? Can someone sue for emotional upset?

In the case of 495793 Ontario Ltd. (Central Auto Parts) v. Barclay, 2016 ONCA 656 (CanLII), released September 2, 2016, the Court of Appeal for Ontario confirmed that a plaintiff’s testimony of emotional upset, being unsupported by medical evidence, was insufficient to ground the substantial award of non-pecuniary damages made by the trial judge, the Honourable Regional Senior Justice Helen M. Pierce. (See reasons for decision reported at 2014 ONSC 3517.)