January 10, 2020

It isn’t only the manner in which someone is terminated that can attract extraordinary damages in a wrongful termination case, it can also be the timing. Here are some cases which highlight this:

Case #1: Horner v 897469 Ontario Inc. 2018 ONSC 121, the Ontario Superior Court awarded $20,000 in aggravated damages to an employee who was dismissed at Christmas time. In that case, days before the Christmas break, the employee had complained, to her employer, that a co-worker was harassing her at work. Then, on December 28th, the employee found a termination letter stuck in the back door of her house. The letter purported to dismiss the employee for cause. While the Court considered multiple factors in arriving at its decision, the decision paid particular attention to the fact that the termination letter was sent “during the Christmas holidays.”


Case #2: Zesta Engineering Ltd. v Cloutier 2010 ONSC 5810, the Ontario Superior Court awarded an employee $75,000 in moral damages after the employee was dismissed during the holiday season. Importantly, in this case, the employer had engaged in a long list of bad-faith behaviors. However, in deciding to award moral damages to the employee for the manner in which he was dismissed, the Court made sure to point out that, among other things, the employee was let go only “five days before Christmas.”