WRONGFUL DISMISSAL - Constructive dismissal - Change to remuneration - Dismissal without cause

Law360 Canada (October 25, 2022, 11:58 AM EDT) -- Appeal by the defendant Paramount Resources Ltd. (Paramount) from the decision awarding the plaintiff Kosteckyj damages of $107,247 for constructive dismissal after a summary trial. Kosteckyj was a professional engineer. In October 2013, she commenced employment as a senior integrity engineer with Apache Canada Ltd. Paramount acquired Apache Canada’s business in August 2017. In March 2020, Paramount announced that it would implement a cost reduction program effective April 1, 2020. For Kosteckyj, that meant a base salary reduction, among other things. On April 22, 2020, Paramount terminated Kosteckyj without cause as part of additional measures to decrease its costs, and paid her statutory termination pay of five weeks’ salary. In July 2020, Kosteckyj sued Paramount for wrongful dismissal. She applied to have her claim determined by way of summary trial. She alleged in her summary trial brief that Paramount constructively dismissed her on April 1, 2020. Paramount admitted in its amended statement of defence that it terminated Kosteckyj’s employment without cause on April 22, 2020. The parties agreed that Kosteckyj was entitled to damages in lieu of reasonable notice. The summary trial judge concluded that Paramount constructively dismissed Kosteckyj and found that her common law notice entitlement was nine months. She was therefore awarded $107,247 based on her salary and benefits as they existed before the cost reduction program was implemented....
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