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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

Workplace investigation alert: Lessons on workplace investigations from a wrongful dismissal claim in Alberta

A recent case from Alberta, Smith v Vauxhall Co-Op Petroleum Limited, 2017 ABQB 525, provides a helpful example of what an employer should not do when investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In this wrongful dismissal case, the employer defended its decision to terminate Mr. S, the plaintiff-employee, by relying on the findings

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Punch causes nose bleed, but is not enough to be cause for dismissal

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice proves how challenging just cause dismissals can be for employers. In this case, the Court found that an employee who punched a co-worker in the nose did not deserve the “capital punishment” in employment law – dismissal for cause. The employee had 15 years of

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The price is right…or is it? Judicial guidance on the “reasonableness” of costs in an action

Legal fees and disbursements are important factors to be considered at every stage of litigation.  Before commencing litigation, a party must assess whether the potential costs justify making a claim at all—i.e. “Does the amount I’ll likely recover outweigh the costs I’ll likely incur in recovering it?” Throughout the litigation, a prudent party will frequently

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“New and improved” approach to summary judgments: The impact on wrongful dismissal litigation

Since I last wrote about the use of summary judgment in wrongful dismissal actions, there have been two significant updates: In January 2014, the Supreme Court revamped the approach to summary judgment motions in Hryniak v. Mauldin; and In the six months since Hryniak, the courts have applied this revamped approach to wrongful dismissal actions,

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Playing nice: How to avoid punitive awards

My mother always told me to play nice. I recall that simple but sage advice when I encounter employers behaving badly (“EBBs”, as I call them). EBBs are employers that act without regard to: a) basic employer obligations, and/or b) common decency vis-à-vis their employees. As revealed by the case law over the years, the

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A litigation primer for employers: what to expect (and what to do) when you’re expecting a wrongful dismissal claim

Litigation is rarely the preferred option for employers, but when an employer and a former employee cannot agree on the terms of a severance package, litigation may be inevitable. As an employer, what can you expect when you’re expecting a wrongful dismissal claim? Here is a high-level overview of the major steps in wrongful dismissal

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A virtual horror story: Improperly sent email proves costly for employer

With the frequent use of email in the workplace, it is not surprising that the occasional embarrassing message has been sent to the wrong user. A recent decision of the Divisional Court, however, should caution all employers that an inadvertent email may not only be embarrassing but can also have significant legal consequences. In Fernandes

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