Employees suing former employers for wrongful dismissal damages are obligated to “mitigate” their damages, and a failure to do so may lessen the damages awarded by a Court. In Part 1 of this series, we provided a general overview of the employee’s duty to mitigate. In Part 2, we are delving into specific mitigation issues: whether an employee is required to seek out lower paying positions after an unsuccessful period of searching for a more comparable role; whether job titles of the positions applied for matter; and how employers meet the onus of showing an employee has not met their duty to mitigate. These questions were answered by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Lake v. La Presse, 2022 ONCA 742. Note that the decision discussed here overturned Lake v. La Presse (2018) Inc., 2021 ONSC 3506, which we covered in a previous blog post.
The duty to mitigate is one of the few employee obligations in a wrongful dismissal dispute, and it can reduce a defendant employer’s liability significantly.
What is the Duty to Mitigate?
The duty to mitigate requires an employee to take reasonable steps to secure comparable employment after they have been wrongfully dismissed. When an employer wrongfully dismisses an employee, unless there is enforceable contract language to the contrary, the employee is entitled to damages for pay in lieu of common law reasonable notice. …
Employers often wonder what the consequences might be if they don’t do everything their lawyer tells them to or, if they don’t get a lawyer at all and just “wing it” when hiring, firing, or dealing with workplace issues like harassment complaints or requests for accommodation.
Of course, it depends. Not every employee is going to be litigious, but a fair number are. It’s generally pretty easy for employees to get legal consultations and a lawyer to take their “wrongful dismissals” on contingency. The barrier to entry can be quite low.
So, what can an employer expect? In today’s post, we will go through the various types of employer-worst-case-scenario employment law damages.
Continue Reading Employment Law Damages: The Risk of Not Firing Properly
Recent caselaw suggests that huge damage awards for employees claiming wrongful dismissal is on the decline. Upper courts continue to cut down lower court awards and eliminate “bad faith”-types of compensation.