Employment Contracts

STACEY REGINALD BALL

82 SCOLLARD STREET TORONTO, ON, M5R 1G2

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STACEY REGINALD BALL

Featured by as most frequently recommended employment lawyer.

Many are not aware that the employment relationship between an employer and employee is a type of contract

TERMINATION PROVISIONS

Reasonable Notice

Employment contracts in Canada and Ontario are often much more complicated than most contracts, since special employment law imposed rules are grafted upon them. See Slater v. Sandwell(1994), 5 C.C.E.L. (2d) 308 (Ont. Ct. (Gen.Div.) and Machinger v. HOJ(1992), 91 D.L.R. (4th) 491 (S.C.C.). An employment contract exists between an employee and employer, even if it has never been placed into writing. Employment contracts are important because they let the parties determine specific terms and conditions that will govern the employment relationship. Due to the special nature of employment contracts, not all terms of the contract are enforceable by operation of law. Often employment agreements contain clauses that are not binding on the employee or the employer. Examples include improperly drafted termination provisions and other unfair or “unconscionable” terms.

​Reasonable notice is a very important concept in employment law. As explained in the article titled “Wrongful Dismissal and Just Cause”, an employer can terminate a non-unionized employee for almost any reason that is not discriminatory or reprisal against the employee. However, an employee who is terminated for “just cause”, meaning they are guilty of wilful misconduct, disobedience or neglect, is not entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice under the Employment Standards Act. If an employee is terminated without cause, the employer must provide the employee with the appropriate notice of termination, or pay in lieu of notice of termination. At the very least, the employee is entitled to the minimums contained in the Employment Standards Act. However, the employee can seek common law reasonable notice, which usually works out to a higher amount.

​Employment Standards Act

In an effort to limit paying more termination pay, employment contracts often include a termination provision, which will limit the amount of termination or severance pay that the employee is able to receive. If done properly, the termination provision can displace the presumption of common law reasonable notice that an employee would otherwise receive. However, a termination provision must be unequivocal, explicit and found to be a valid term of the employment agreement for this to occur. Technical violations of employment standards legislation like the Employment Standards Act can render harsh termination provisions void. The result of this can be very dramatic. Contracts which purport to limit statutory severance to a few weeks can be declared illegal, with common law reasonable notice of several months being substituted by the court.


Recent cases in this regard include decisions such as: Miller v A.B.M. Canada Inc. 2014 ONSC 4062; Wright v. Young & Rubicam Group of Companies, 2011 ONSC 4720 and Stevens v Sifton Properties Ltd., 2012 ONSC 5508. In order to be valid, termination provisions must acknowledge the minimum notice periods that are set out in the Employment Standards Act, among other requirements. General contract law principles such as unconscionability, undue influence and duress also apply to employment contracts and termination provisions. Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice. It is general information about the law. If you require legal advice and assistance in an employment matter, please contact the experts at Ball Professional Corporation.

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Canadian Employment Law

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CLIENT REVIEWS

“ Stacey Ball is the ultimate in employment lawyers. He got me an excellent settlement and I referred him to fellow long term employees whom I know were very happy in their outcome. I cannot recommend him enough; his name alone will give you clout. This is the guy who wrote the book. He is the best. ”
- John Cunningham, Toronto, ON

“ I was strongly advised by another client to see Stacey Ball. At the initial consultation I found Stacey to be very candid, honest and confident. He was very knowledgeable and upfront about reasonable expectations. He acted quickly on my behalf, which resulted in a fair settlement. I would recommend Stacey to anyone who wishes to use a pro, who knows the law, and is the best employment lawyer in the business. ”
- Todd Kemp, Oshawa, ON

“ I would highly recommend Stacey Ball as an employment lawyer. He was honest, hard working on my behalf and obtained an excellent settlement. I found him to be the top and best employment lawyer I could have obtained. ”
- Lou T. Richmond Hill, ON

“ Stacey Ball is the best employment lawyer you can have on your side in Toronto. There is no employment lawyer representing employees with a stronger track record than him. In my experience, he gets the results that meet your needs, even against the most stubborn employers. Had I not gone with Stacey, I would have gotten nothing because that was what my employer insisted on until he intervened on my behalf. He is the best and top employment lawyer. ”
- James Yu, Toronto, ON

“ I first used Stacey over a decade ago to review personal and business employment contracts. Stacey is arguably the best employment law lawyer in both Canada and south of the border. His intimate knowledge of the law is second to none. He is readily available for any situation which requires a quick, frank and authentic response. I would highly recommend him for both individuals and organizations alike.​ ”
- Antoinette St. Angelo, V.P. & Director of Production Services, Toronto, ON

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