The Impact of COVID-19 on Wrongful Dismissal
With the significant number of terminations that have occurred throughout 2020 due to Covid-19, many employees are asking whether Covid-19 affects their wrongful dismissal rights.
We have been waiting for the courts to provide guidance on the impact of Covid-19 on wrongful dismissal. A recent decision gave some initial guidance.
The Case – Termination before Covid-19
In Yee v Hudson’s Bay, the Court considered whether Covid-19 should increase the employee’s wrongful dismissal damages and notice period. The employee was terminated prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. He had held an executive level position and earned a base salary of $162,353 plus additional incentive compensation and pension. The employee had worked for Hudson’s Bay for 11.65 years.
The Court held that cases involving employees terminated before the Covid-19 pandemic will not be given the same consideration about the economic situation as those terminated at the beginning of the pandemic.
The key comment for terminated employees is that the court acknowledges that the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative effect on finding comparable employment should be considered in assessing wrongful dismissal cases for employees terminated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the fact that Yee was terminated prior to Covid-19, he was awarded significant wrongful dismissal damages of a 16-month notice period. The key factors to this notice period were his age and executive level position.
Lessons for those with wrongful dismissal cases during Covid-19
We have written many times about wrongful dismissal and how damages are determined for terminated employees. Make sure you know your rights before signing anything.
If you have been let go by your employer during Covid-19 you should consult a lawyer to understand weather the severance package or wrongful dismissal damages offered to you are reasonable.
You can contact Barrie and Toronto Employment Lawyer Nicole Simes at MacLeod Law Firm via [email protected] or 647-204-8107.