EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP - Type of employment - Seasonal

Law360 Canada (October 30, 2023, 8:58 AM EDT) -- Appeal by Elmsdale Landscaping Limited (Elmsdale) from a Novia Scotia Supreme Court judgment which determined that Hiltz was constructively dismissed and awarded aggravated damages. Hiltz was employed by Elmsdale for 17 years. He would typically be called for work in June and laid off in December following which he would draw employment insurance benefits. In June 2020, Hiltz was suspended for alleged performance problems. Elmsdale did not call evidence at trial to establish justification for the suspension. Hiltz was ultimately laid off. Hiltz was issued a Record of Employment saying it was due to lack of work even though Elmsdale was actively hiring. Two months later, Elmsdale offered to recall Hiltz but he declined because he had taken another position. Hiltz sued Elmsdale for wrongful dismissal. The trial judge found Hiltz was constructively dismissed and set the notice period at 12 months. She also awarded aggravated damages. Elmsdale argued the trial judge failed to properly apply the legal test for constructive dismissal, erred in determining a notice period which extended beyond the end of the landscaping season, erred in rejecting its submission that Hiltz had failed to mitigate his damages and, by awarding aggravated damages without a sufficient evidentiary basis....
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