Dhaliwall v. Hook Restaurant Ltd., 2021 BCSC 1358

This case deals with a number of employment law issues arising from a relatively complex relationship between an employee and three related businesses.

Those issues included common employment, acquiring options, termination or resignation, and reasonable notice for a specialized, short-service employee.

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Wilson v. Pomerleau Inc., 2021 BCSC 388

Important excerpts include the following:

[22] Mr. Wilson is presently 65 years old. Mr. Wilson argues that his age is a significant factor that supports a longer period of notice.

[28] I agree with Mr. Wilson that his age at this time stands as a significant factor in terms of his ability to find alternate employment. The advance of his age over his time with Westpro/Pomerleau has presently put him in the position that he will likely be perceived by future employers as having a much shortened potential employment term before any chosen or forced retirement. Common sense dictates that employers would likely be more reluctant to invest the time and energy in employing an older person in those circumstances.

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WCAT Decision: D.N.

This is a case involving workplace bullying and harassment. TGC lawyer Fred Wynne, on behalf of the employee, successfully appealed WorkSafeBC’s denial of compensation for mental distress.

The Tribunal held the following:

Based on the worker’s unrefuted testimony, I find that he experienced a series of targeted events which constitute harassment in the workplace, which consisted of some events that on their own would be considered significant stressors, and others which would not stand on their own as significant stressors. However, notwithstanding that many of these events would not stand on their own as significant stressors, I find that the worker’s evidence established a pattern of seemingly benign or trivial individual events that when viewed as a whole consisted of harassment towards the worker.

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Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., 2020 SCC 26

Courts should ask two questions when determining whether the appropriate quantum of damages for breach of an implied term to provide reasonable notice includes bonus payments. First, courts should consider the employee’s common law rights and examine whether, but for the termination, the employee would have been entitled to the bonus or benefit as part of their compensation during the reasonable notice period. Second, if so, courts should determine whether the terms of the employment contract or bonus plan unambiguously take away or limit that common law right.

…this Court has been emphatic in recognizing that, in addition to whatever financial dimension work entails, a person’s employment is “an essential component of [their] sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being” (Reference re Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alta.), 1987 CanLII 88 (SCC), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 313, at p. 368). To this end, it is understandable that employees seek some recognition that they have been mistreated, reflecting that they feel it unfair, beyond any compensatory matter, that they were forced to quit in such circumstances.

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