The Supreme Court released its decision today denying leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. decision. In Waksdale, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that an unenforceable “for cause” termination clause rendered the entire termination provision invalid. This decision was a major victory for employees, as it reinforces the fact that employers cannot pick and choose which portions of their termination provisions to rely on: if there is a problem with part of the clause, then the whole thing must go.
The Waksdale decision is particularly significant because many employment contracts contain language that suggests an employer can terminate employees “for cause” without providing any notice or pay in lieu thereof. This kind of language is void because, unless the employee has committed wilful misconduct (a higher standard than just cause), the employer must pay any notice and severance that is required under the Employment Standards Act. For more information, please click HERE to read our previous blog post regarding the Waksdale decision.
If you would like advice on a termination provision in your employment contract, please contact one of our employment lawyers to set up an appointment.