In Lederhouse v Vermilion Energy ( 2015 CarswellAlb 1102 ) the Court awarded the bonus over the notice period even when it was expressly discretionary as the ” the discretion must be similarly exercised reasonably , on the basis of objective criteria allowing for positive and negative contingencies ” . The plaintiff was awarded a $49,906 payment, which was the average over the last 3 years.
The SCC gave leave to the Plaintiff’s to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal in this ground breaking case regarding unjust dismissal under the Canada Labour Code. In the lower Courts it was held that a dismissal without just cause was not unjust if the proper severance was paid, which was contrary to decades of Canada Labour Code adjudicator jurisprudence which held that only a dismissal for just cause could avoid the section’s remedies, including reinstatement. This decision will be of keen interest for all those in the employment law bar as the Federal Court decision has made this unjust dismissal legislation a less useful remedy as in most cases the employee would be better off with a civil action for wrongful dismissal if the reinstatement option is not realistically available under the Code.
In Alsip v Top Rollshutteers Inc. the BC SC upheld the following language as constituting a fixed term contract:
” The position is full time and permanent. Your compensation will be as follows: A three year employment contract”.
The Employer argued that this meant a maximum of three years of employment and could be terminated sooner on reasonable notice. The Plaintiff was terminated after 1 year. The Court awarded damages for the the remaining 2 years in the contract.
As the Employer had drafted the contract, the Court applied the legal doctrine that read any ambiguity against the author of the document.