$1.27 Million Damages Award a Reminder to Employers of Perils Associated with Fixed Term Contracts

In McGuinty v. 1845035 Ontario Inc. (McGuinty Funeral Home), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded a plaintiff over $1.27 million in damages for constructive dismissal after only one year had elapsed of a 10 year consulting services agreement (Agreement). In the absence of a cancellation provision, the defendant was obligated to pay the Agreement…

Benefits Canada Publishes an Article by Thomas Agnew on Constructive Dismissal and the Duty to Mitigate Damages

Hicks Morley’s Thomas Agnew authored an article in Benefits Canada titled “Constructive Dismissal and the Corresponding Duty to Mitigate Damages.” In a recent case, the Ontario Superior Court found an employee failed to mitigate damages when he refused a return-to-work offer from his employer, with whom he had a good working relationship. This case serves as an important…

No Tort of Harassment in Ontario

In Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General), the Ontario Court of Appeal found that a “tort of harassment” does not exist in Ontario. The plaintiff/respondent was hired as a Constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2005. He was promoted to Corporal in 2009 and then to Sergeant in 2014. In June 2007, he…

Appellate Court Overturns Summary Judgment Decision that Former Employee Owed $20m in Damages to Employer; Matter Remitted for Trial

The decision of a summary judgment motion judge who ordered a former employee to pay his former employer $20 million in damages has been overturned by the Court of Appeal. In Plate v. Atlas Copco Canada Inc., the Court held that the motion judge erred when he found a trial was not necessary and proceeded…

A Cautionary Tale: Appellate Court Upholds Judgment Against Employer for Punitive Damages, Aggravated Damages and “Unusually High” Costs

In Ruston v. Keddco MFG. (2011) Ltd., 2019 ONCA 125 (CanLII)(Keddco), a unanimous Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a substantial damages and costs award against an employer that breached its “duty of good faith and fair dealing in the manner of dismissal.” The Keddco decision serves as an important reminder for employers across Canada…

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Proving Mental Injury and its Implications for Employers

In a recent decision, Saadati v. Moorhead, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously held that proof of a recognized psychiatric injury is no longer necessary to award damages for mental injuries caused by negligence. Although this finding was made in the context of a personal injury case, it may have implications for employers. The plaintiff/appellant…

Employer’s Egregious Mistreatment of Disabled Employee Leads to Increase in Damages Award

In a recent wrongful dismissal case, Strudwick v. Applied Consumer & Clinical Evaluations Inc., the Court of Appeal increased the amount of damages awarded to an employee from $113,782 to $240,000, for what the Court of Appeal described as “a marked departure from any conceivable standard of decent behaviour” in an employer’s treatment of its employee…

2016 Waterloo Client Conference

Change is a constant in the human resources world: ongoing developments in the law, whether through new legislation or the courts, and the rapid evolution of best practices create a fast-paced learning environment for human resources professionals.