May 2015

There were five cases in the last few months that are of particular note to employment law practitioners:

Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Act Services Commission 2015 SCC 10 – a decision in which the law of constructive dismissal is reviewed, in particular in the context of a suspension with pay and the principles relating to the deductibility of pension benefits from an award of wrongful damages is confirmed;

Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union 2015 BCCA 127 – a decision where the principles relating to the termination of an employee for misconduct are reviewed and the rationale from McKinley v. BC Tel, 2001 SCC 38 is further explained;

Munoz v. Sierra Systems 2015 BCSC 269 – A recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision serves as a warning to counsel drafting employment agreements and also resulted in a significant period of notice being awarded to a relatively short term employee.

 George v. Cowichan Tribes 2015 BCSC 513 – this decision considered the assessment of cause applying the McKinley principles.  The case also considered two damages issues, the treatment of a break in years of employment and claims for aggravated and punitive damages.

Ogden v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 2014 BCSC 285, overturned on appeal 2015 BCA 175 – this is a decision concerning just cause and punitive and aggravated damages. The decision was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered on the basis that the trial judge misapprehended and mischaracterized the position and evidence of the defendant.

Each of these decisions provides clarifications in areas that employment law practitioners deal with on a daily basis. They each provide an explanation of the law and are useful in crafting arguments regarding the existence of case, interpretation of employment contracts and assessment of damages.

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