Terminated employees may be entitled to much more than one month per year of service

After tumbling down a Google rabbit hole, most employees look for some standard by which to compare their offer on termination. In my experience, many employees typically come across law blogs touting that employees are entitled to (hopefully) a month per year of service.

Like other major life events, an unexpected job termination can lead employees to the internet, searching endlessly for answers.

 

After all, most employees seldom experience a termination, and termination packages are often difficult to make sense of.

 

After tumbling down a Google rabbit hole, most employees look for some standard by which to compare their offer on termination. In my experience, many employees typically come across law blogs touting that employees are entitled to (hopefully) a month per year of service.

 

But the fact is, employees, especially those with short service, can be entitled to more.

 

Take for example the case of John Teljeur who was employed as a general manager of the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre in Haliburton Ontario.

 

As the general manager Tejeur managed all aspects of the operations of the resort including managing a team of employees. He met with each department daily, ensuring staff were properly prepared and well resourced. He was a relatively senior employee at the corporation earning $72,500 per year.

 

Teljeur was terminated in December 2021 after three years and two months of service. He sued for wrongful dismissal damages and was 57 years old at the time his motion was heard.

 

Despite his three years of service, Teljeur was awarded seven months of pay on his termination and 10% of his salary in lieu of benefits. The court noted his age and the COVID pandemic as being factors contributing to the notice period.

 

The court also found Pinestone made some critical missteps at Teljeur’s termination meeting that attracted additional damages.

 

In particular, the court found Pinecrest did not put his termination in writing, that it encouraged him to resign his employment, and that despite promising him eight weeks of pay, Pinecrest reneged on that promise and paid him his minimum statutory entitlements only.

 

For these and other breaches the court awarded Teljeur an additional $15,000 in moral damages.

 

This case highlights that a variety of factors like age, the impact of the pandemic, and questionable employer conduct, can all contribute to a court award on the termination of an employee.

 

Above all, employees should be dispelled of the notion that a month per year of service is the most they may be entitled to. Every case contains subtle differences and even small details can make a significant difference to a damage award.

 

Have a workplace issue? Maybe I can help! Email me at sunira@worklylaw.com and your question may be featured in a future column.

 

The content of this article is general information only and is not legal advice.

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