WHEN FIRING, BE KIND OR BEWARE

Contributed by Albert S. Frank – Lawyer. An employer can terminate an employee at any time. But if there was no “just cause” for termination then the employer owes money compensation to the employee. That compensation is called “damages.”

 
The damages are mainly to cover lost earnings during the time it would likely take the employee to get a new job.

 
But there can be extra damages if the firing was done in a nasty way. An employee can get “moral damages” or “damages for mental distress” if the manner of dismissal was unfair or in bad faith by being, for example, untruthful, misleading or unduly insensitive.

 
One business owner decided to fire an executive. Instead of telling the executive himself, he got a secretary to do it. The trial judge was outraged and awarded bigger damages because a secretary did the firing.

 
In Altman v. Steve’s Music the employer fired a long-time employee after she fell ill with cancer. The firing was nasty: she got harsh letters that the trial judge found were “replete with mistruths.” Because of the nastiness the judge awarded an extra $35,000.
If the employer adds insult to injury – look out!

 
Albert S. Frank – Lawyer
Cabbagetown Law Chambers
203 – 603 ½ Parliament Street  Toronto, Ontario M4x 1P9 Phone: 416 929 7202
afrank@FrankLaw.ca      www.franklaw.ca

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