In Johar v. Best Buy Canada Ltd. 2016 ONSC 5287 the Ontario Superior Court confirmed that not all conflicts of interest result in summary dismissal. If there is no dishonesty involved, the work is minor, and limited to scope such as to family and friends, a technical conflict of interest may not be cause for dismissal. This is consistent with the concept of proportionately which is required for assessing whether there is cause for dismissal.
The Johar decision confirms that employers need to be extremely careful and get proper advice when deciding to dismiss an employee for alleged cause.
The Ontario Court of Appeal in its decision in Lin v. Ontario Teachers’ Plan, 2016 ONCA 619 has reconfirmed that the employee will receive normally all that he or she would earn during the period of reasonable notice. This will include bonuses, stock options, and benefits. In Lin the Court of Appeal noted that the requirement of “active employment” was insufficient to remove the employee to benefits which would receive during reasonable notice. In the Lin case the employee received base salary, bonus LTIP, pension and other benefits as wrongful dismissal damages. The total award prior to mitigation was $1,516,535 for a 15 month notice period. The Court of Appeal confirmed that normally very clear terms are required to remove the presumption of reasonable notice.
The Supreme Court of Canada has reversed the Federal Court of Appeal in Wilson v. AECL, 2016 SCC 29. This is an fortunate decision for non-organized federal employees (e.g. bank, railway, national transportation etc. employees). The Supreme Court has reaffirmed that federal jurisdiction employees can only be dismissed for “just cause”. Federal jurisdiction employees dismissing an employee without “just cause” now run the risk having the employee being re-instated with back pay as well as related legal costs. The Supreme Court has effectively in my view has interpreted the Canada Labour Code consistent with what Parliament had in mind in 1978.
Blog - Stacey Ball