Wrongful Dismissal: Recent Decisions Made by Summary Judgment Motion

Apr 21, 2015

Last year I wrote a blog entitled, “Wrongful Dismissal Law: Summary Judgment Motions – The Way of the Future”. This blog introduced some important facts about summary judgment motions such as when they are appropriate to use and what they decide. Over the last year, these motions have become more and more common within the legal landscape.

On February 2, 2015, Justice Brown of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Arnone v Best Theratronics2015 ONCA 63 (CanLII), 2015 ONCA 63 (C.A.) wrote: “a straight-forward claim for wrongful dismissal without cause, such as the present one, strikes me as the type of case usually amenable to a Rule 20 summary judgment motion”.

Employment lawyers have taken note accordingly and are bringing summary judgment motions to decide wrongful dismissal cases. Here are four recent examples:

  1. Leeming v. IBM Canada Ltd., 2015 ONSC 1447 (CanLII)

The judge concluded that a 60-year-old employee with 8 years service working in a middle managerial administrative position was entitled to 10 months notice. The court also concluded it was OK for her to start her own business four months after her employment was terminated because her search for a full-time job did not result in a job offer.

  1. Wolfman v. Rocktenn-Container Canada, L.P., 2015 ONSC 1432 (CanLII)

The judge concluded a 52-year-old employee with 16 years experience working as a national account sales representative was entitled to 16 months notice. When calculating damages during this period the court took into account the employee’s salary, bonus, the value of group benefits, the value of pension contributions, and car allowance.

  1. Chen v. Purdue Pharma Inc., 2015 ONSC 1967 (CanLII)

The judge concluded the 56-year-old employee with 22-½ years service working as a Director of Business Development was entitled to 24 months notice. When calculating damages the judge took into account the salary increase the employee would have received during the notice period, and calculated his bonus on the average of his last two years bonus payments. The decision was issued before the end of the 24-month notice period and the employee was ordered to repay the employer any income he earned during the notice period.

  1. Fraser v Canerector Inc., 2015 ONSC 2138 (CanLII)

The judge concluded the 46-year-old employee with about 3 years service as a senior executive was entitled to 4.5 months notice. The employee was terminated in June, which had a negative impact on his job search. However, but for the time of the year he was terminated, “I should have awarded a somewhat shorter period of notice (three months)” wrote the judge. When calculating damages the judge did not include an amount for a bonus during the notice period.

For the past 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising and representing employers in connection with employee terminations. If you have any questions, you can contact him at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

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