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Monkhouse Law recently secured a default judgment against Canadian Standard Home Services (“Canadian Standard”) in the case of Ott v Canadian Standard Home Services, 2017 ONSC 7114.
Ms. Ott had worked for Canadian Standard for approximately three years and was terminated without notice or pay in lieu thereof due to an alleged lack of work.
Among other relief granted, Justice Koehnen awarded Ms. Ott the following amounts:
(i) $20,339.42 on account of salary in lieu of notice;
(ii) $62,359.00 on account of unpaid overtime pay;
(iii) $580.00 on account of inappropriate claw backs; and
(iv) $3,284.58 on account of punitive damages.
In his decision, Justice Koehnen found that Ms. Ott had been terminated without cause and without notice or pay in lieu thereof on January 6, 2016, and that at the time of her termination, she was owed $2,076 in unpaid wages. Moreover, Justice Koehnen also found that Ms. Ott was not paid her minimum entitlements as per the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) until well after she had commenced litigation and even after the employer had filed a Defence. Citing Nelson v 9777372 Ontario Inc.,  OJ No. 3182 – which stands for the proposition that failing to provide an employee with their minimum entitlements upon termination amounts to malicious and high-handed conduct – Justice Koehnen determined that Ms. Ott was entitled to punitive damages due to Canadian Standard’s “unwarranted failure” to pay out her minimum entitlements. As a result, Justice Koehnen awarded Ms. Ott $3,284,58 in punitive damages, which was equal to the sum of Ms. Ott’s ESA minimum entitlements.
This decision stands a stark reminder to employers that payment of the statutory minimums is required in the event of a termination without cause. Where there is some evidence that the employer withheld an employee’s ESA minimum entitlements without any valid explanation, courts will not hesitate to order that the employer pay punitive damages to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
If you have been terminated and you believe your employer has denied you your minimum entitlements to termination pay, you should speak with a lawyer. Call Monkhouse Law today for a free 30-minute phone consultation!
About the Author: Stephen LeMesurier is an associate lawyer at Monkhouse Law where he practices Employment, Human Rights and Disability Insurance Law.
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