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Tourism & Accommodation

Employee on maternity leave was constructively dismissed when employer took steps to dissolve operations

In Lewis v. Terrace Tourism Society, 2010 BCCA 346, the majority of the BC Court of
Appeal found that the Executive Director ("ED") of the Tourism Terrace Society (the "Society") was constructively dismissed when the Society took steps to dissolve its operations while she was on maternity leave.

Background

The ED commenced her employment with the Society in May 2004.

At the end of 2006, she started a maternity leave that was scheduled to run until January 2008. An interim ED was hired to replace her.

Two weeks after the ED commenced her maternity leave, the Society determined that it was in dire financial straits. It took several immediate steps to deal with the situation, including laying off the interim executive director and removing the ED's signing authority on its bank accounts.

A month later, the Society passed a "dissolution" resolution in which it voted to:  read more »

Senior employee's refusal to submit budget with head office's desired profit projections not cause for dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Adams v. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., 2009 BCSC 681, the BC Supreme Court found that the employer did not have cause to dismiss a senior employee because of her refusal to prepare an annual budget that that included the employer's desired profit projections.

In doing so, the court reviewed the law on insubordination, and when it can amount to cause for dismissal in light of the "contextual approach" that was mandated by the Supreme Court of Canada in McKinley v. BC Tel, 2001 SCC 38.

Background

The plaintiff was the General Manager of a hotel that was part of a luxury chain. At the time her employment was terminated she was 41, had 12 years of service and was earning approximately $150,000 per year (exclusive of bonuses and benefits).

The hotel chain's corporate office (the "employer") alleged that it had cause to dismiss the plaintiff for insubordination because:  read more »

Sexual harassment at Christmas party and dishonesty during investigation lead to senior employee's dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The plaintiff's employment with Marriot Hotels of Canada Ltd. was terminated for cause on February 1, 2007. He was 46 years old, had been employed by the hotel for 22 years and held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing.

Prior to the incidents in question, the plaintiff's employment record was free of any discipline.

The defendant hotel alleged cause for dismissal based on the fact that the plaintiff:

  • Was a senior manager with responsibilities for supervising the company holiday party, permitted the excessive consumption of alcohol, engaged in sexually suggestive dancing, and condoned an "after-party" where Marriott employees drank heavily;
  • Engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with a female subordinate in the bathroom at the after-party; and
  • Was dishonest when he denied the sexual touching allegation during the defendant's investigation of his misconduct.

Distribution of drink tickets, alcohol consumption and suggestive dancing

In relation to these allegations, the court found that:  read more »