Sunday 2 June 2024

Meritless Implication that Former Employee was Involved in Murder Results in $100,000 in Aggravated and Punitive Damages

Can an employee be awarded aggravated damages for his employer’s bad behaviour if that bad behaviour precedes his termination?

While for a long time the prevailing wisdom was that aggravated and punitive damages could only be awarded for behaviour “during the course of dismissal”- which are the words used by the Supreme Court of Canada in Wallace- recent case law seems to suggest that such timing may not be necessary.

For example, in Koshman v. Controlex Corporation, 2023 ONSC 7045, the Honourable Justice Charles T. Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that the employer’s bad behaviour in the two months preceding an employee’s summary dismissal could substantiate an award of aggravated damages.

And, if that wasn’t enough of a hook to get you to keep reading, what if I mentioned that the employer’s poor behaviour included its telling clients that it believed that the former employee may be implicated in murdering the company’s founder?

Saturday 25 May 2024

New Client Policy Results in Frustration of Employment

If you are an employer in the service industry, and your largest client introduces a new rule or policy that imposes new requirements on your employees, and if one of your employees refuses to comply with that new rule or policy, has the employee’s contract of employment been “frustrated” or must the employer allege that it has “cause” for termination?

In Croke v. VuPoint System Ltd, 2024 ONCA 354 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a decision in which it was found that an employee’s refusal to comply with his employer’s client’s rule requiring proof of vaccination against Covid-19 was a frustration of contract.

This is case about Covid-19 vaccination, which is not about Covid-19.

Saturday 24 February 2024

Employers Do Not Have the Right to Terminate Employees "At Any Time"

Do Ontario employers have the right to terminate an employee’s employment “at any time” and in their “sole discretion”?

In Dufault v. The Corporation of the Township of Ignace, 2024 ONSC 1029, the Honourable Madam Justice H. M Pierce of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sitting at Thunder Bay held that they do not.

Thursday 4 January 2024

No Implied Term in Employment for Layoff for COVID State of Emergency

By now one might have thought that the issue of whether an employer had the legal right to layoff an employee in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic would have been resolved. And yet in the case of Webb v. SDT North America, 2023 ONSC 7170, heard June 12, 2023, with further written submissions delivered September 8, 2023, and September 29, 2023, with reasons for decision released on December 19, 2023, the court was once again asked the question of whether a “COVID layoff” constituted as dismissal.

Saturday 16 December 2023

Redefining My Narrative: Collaborating with ChatGPT to Craft My Legal Journey

I asked ChatGPT 4 to read my existing bios and then ask me 20 questions, here is what it produced:

As an experienced trial lawyer and a trusted advisor in employment law and commercial disputes, my career has been a journey of growth and adaptation. My time as the Director of Litigation & Employment for a publicly listed corporation was pivotal, where I focused on preventing disputes and advocating globally for my clients.

In private practice, my expertise spans all aspects of employment law, including wrongful dismissal, workplace harassment, and human rights. I've counseled clients through mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions, always aiming for quick and favorable resolutions.

I have appeared before numerous courts and administrative boards, including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and managed litigation before foreign bodies like the United States District Court and the British Columbia Supreme Court. My work extends to international tribunals like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

As the publisher of "Labour Pains," I take pride in the blog's recognition and its influence on employment law, including its citation by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The blog's induction into the Canadian Law Blog Hall of Fame is a testament to its impact.

My educational background from York University and the University of Ottawa laid the foundation for my legal career, and my calling to the Ontario Bar in 2008 marked the beginning of my professional journey.

My approach to law is knowledge-led, focusing on the current state and objectives of the law, and advocating for necessary changes. I am driven by the belief in being open to change, as life and career paths are non-linear.

Outside my professional life, I'm inquisitive, constantly seeking to learn more about the world. This thirst for knowledge keeps me balanced and makes me a more effective advocate.

As I look to the future, I aim to expand my adjudicative work and consider the possibility of a judicial appointment. My journey in law is one of continuous learning, adaptability, and a commitment to justice and fairness.