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Ontario Court of Appeal

Employee-shareholder dismissed for cause awarded damages for improper invocation of Shareholders' Agreement

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

In Link v. Venture Steel Inc. and Ruben Rivas, 2010 ONCA 144 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision in which a former Vice-President of Sales was awarded more than $4 million in damages, most of which related to company shares the employer had improperly purchased, pursuant to a Shareholders' Agreement, at the time it dismissed the employee for just cause.

The case also addressed the issue of how non-competition and non-solicitation provisions in a Shareholders Agreement will impact on a court's analysis of whether an employee's mitigation efforts were reasonable.

Lawyers at Fasken Martineau has prepared a summary of the case ("Beware the Perils of Firing Employee-Shareholders", June 22, 2010) that can be found here

Tort of negligent infliction of mental suffering not available in employment context, ONCA rules

In an important decision that came out on May 28, 2010 - Piresferreira v. Ayotte, 2010 ONCA 384 - the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that employees cannot sue their employers for the tort of negligent infliction of mental suffering, at least in Ontario.


At the time of the incident that led to the termination of her employment with Bell Mobility, the plaintiff, Ms. Pieresferreira, was an Account Manager, had 10 years service, was 60 years olds, and had received mostly excellent performance reviews.

As set out by the Court of Appeal, her supervisor, Mr. Ayotte, was a "critical, demanding, loud and aggressive manager" who was known to "swear at employees, had a temper and would bang his fist on the table to make a point" (para. 5).  read more »

"Independent, Dependent or Employee -- How Would you Describe Your Contractor?"

Barb Cornish, at Singleton Urquhart in Vancouver, has published an article entitled, "Independent, Dependent or Employee -- How Would you Describe Your Contractor?" (April 12, 2010).

The article discusses the Ontario Court of Appeal's December 2009 decision in McKee v. Reid's Heritage Homes Ltd., 2009 ONCA 916, in which the court reaffirmed:

  1. the existence and definition of the dependent contractor relationship; and
  2. that such individuals are owed reasonable notice (or payment in lieu) on termination.

CIBC class action overtime decision to be appealed

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal - Ontario

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the proposed representative plaintiff will be appealing the Ontario Superior Court of Justice's decision last month refusing to certify an unpaid overtime class action lawsuit against CIBC. You can read the article ("CIBC employee appeals judge's class-action denial", February 19, 2010) here.