Recent Employment Law Developments

By: Chris Drinovz

Lots of recent court action on employment law matters in BC:

A-Teck Appraisals Ltd. v. Constandinou, 2020 BCSC 135: Court stayed a wrongful dismissal claim in light of enforceable arbitration clause. Judge declined to apply reasoning of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Heller v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al, 2019 ONCA 1 that removing right to ESB investigation amounts to contracting out of the ESA. This would render most arb clauses in BC void. Heller has been argued at the SCC and is awaiting release of reasons.

Quach v. Mitux Services Ltd., 2020 BCCA 25: Many interesting issues addressed by the Court of Appeal. First, the Court did not decide the issue but said the import of the landmark Rosas case may not change the “nuanced world of employer and employee contractual relationships” where continued employment cannot be fresh consideration. The Court clarified mitigation earnings are still deductible from damages awarded under a fixed term contract unless there is a specific termination clause providing otherwise. Finally, the trial judge’s award for aggravated damages was set aside (big surprise).

Perron v. IG Image Group Inc., 2020 BCSC 171: After a seven-day trial, employee’s claims for constructive dismissal, conspiracy, and interference with contractual relations dismissed. Primary issue was whether the company ignored its policies by allowing two other employees to takeover the plaintiff’s largest sales account resulting in substantially reduced sales commissions. Employee also alleged breach of the duty of honest performance under Bhasin but this claim was dismissed as well.