COVID-19, Temporary Layoffs and Claims of Constructive Dismissal

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 provides employers with the ability to place employees on a temporary layoff for a specific period of time.*  However the pre-COVID-19 case law (I fully expect that there will be a post-COVID case law era) has largely held that unless the employment contract expressly provides for the possibility of a […]

Termination Pay Pitfalls: What About Commission and Bonuses?

For non-salaried employees and their employers, termination entitlement can be a complicated matter. Sometimes employees’ entire pay structures are centered on bonuses and commissions. Upon termination, employees are often left wondering how much they are owed if they receive very little in the way of a base salary. Employers worry about short-changing their employees. Under […]

Cheating, Lying, Impaired, Fraudster….Surely This is Just Cause for Termination?

In nearly every situation where an employee has been terminated for just cause, both the employee and the employer are angry. Employers frequently express shock upon discovering what they perceive to be the employee’s wrongdoing and frustration with the amount of the time and energy they have to spend to undo or correct for the […]

Executive Comp: Share Purchase Documents Prevail in Exec Wrongful Dismissal Litigation

For many executives, a great portion of their remuneration is derived from company shares. In the context of wrongful dismissal litigation, the value of those shares can become even more contentious than claims for pay in lieu of reasonable notice. Recently, in Mikelsteins v. Morrison Hershfield Limited, the Court of Appeal for Ontario clarified matters […]

Lay-offs: the Dangers of Shooting First and Asking Questions Later

For employers and employees alike, lay-offs continue to be a largely misunderstood area of employment law. Many employers and employees believe that a lay-off occurs when the employer ends the employment relationship on a without cause basis. However, a true lay-off occurs when the employer temporarily stops employing an employee on the understanding that the […]

Matthews v Ocean Nutrition

Can an employer rely on exclusion clauses to escape liability after deliberately mistreating and constructively dismissing an employee? Four (4) years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision in Bhasin, which recognized an “organizing principle of good faith” in contractual relationships: where a defendant is dishonest in the performance of a contract, it […]