WRONGFUL DISMISSAL - Reasonable notice period or wages in lieu

Law360 Canada (November 1, 2022, 6:22 AM EDT) -- Claim by Nicolas for damages for wrongful dismissal as well as punitive and aggravated damages, and two years’ pay in lieu of notice. Nicolas was employed as a houseperson at the Pan Pacific Vancouver (Hotel) from 1988 until 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic struck the world and ceased international and business travel. The pandemic severely limited the Hotel’s ability to operate. That limitation affected the Hotel’s ability to employ its staffing complement of approximately 440 people. The Hotel put Nicolas on temporary layoff but notified him of the termination of his employment by letter dated December 9, 2020. The letter stated Nicolas’ employment was terminated on August 30, 2020. Nicolas applied for, and received, Canadian Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) of $14,000 for 28 weeks and he obtained alternate employment at a care home which commenced November 30, 2020. Nicolas, 58, had been a loyal and valued employee of the Hotel for 32 years. Nicolas submitted that, as a long-term employee, he was entitled to 24 months’ notice. The Hotel submitted reasonable notice would be 12 months. Nicolas submitted an award of punitive damages because the Hotel’s action were taken in bad faith. He argued that the employer placed its own economic interests ahead of the interests of the staff. Nicolas submitted the actions of the Hotel affected him in a negative way when offer of new employment was withdrawn before he had a chance to think about it and he deserved an award for aggravated damages....
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