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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

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Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of RTLaw@Work, Rubin Thomlinson’s weekly blog on new and noteworthy employment law cases.

We could not say goodbye to 2007, without mentioning our favourite case of the year, Mercey v. Consolidated Recycling [2007] O.J. No. 3608 (QL). This decision was released in September, and is still unreported. In our view, it is a sign of employment law cases to come. Ms. Mercey was sexually assaulted by a co-worker. Instead of pursuing a complaint at the Human Rights Commission, she sued her employer in court, claiming constructive dismissal, Wallace damages, and punitive damages.

What is striking about this case is while her recovery for severance was quite modest – one month- and in keeping with the fact that she had only worked for the company for six months – she received six months Wallace damages, and $10,000 in punitive damages.

We think there will be more harassment type cases making their way to courts this year. Look also for the continuing rise of so called “ancillary damages”, things like mental distress, punitive damages, and Wallace damages, as these become increasingly prevalent in cases like these.

In the next few weeks, we will let you know about some other cases we thought were noteworthy in 2007.

Janice Rubin