Ambiguous bonus policy

|Canadian Employment Law Today

After more than five years with Twin Deer Parts and Sales Ltd., Bertrand Gauvin’s employment as a heavy-duty mechanic ended on Sept. 26, 1997. Mr. Gauvin resigned from Twin Deer as a result of a remuneration dispute over the calculation of his bonus.

Prior to accepting a position with Twin Deer, Mr. Gauvin had discussions regarding his remuneration should he join the company. At that time Twin Deer acknowledged that it paid its employees a bonus; however, the full details of the bonus structure were not laid out for Mr. Gauvin either in the discussions or in his confirmation of employment letter. That letter merely indicated that his wage rate would be $16 per hour and there was no bonus entitlement until after one month of employment, at which time a review would be held to consider the possibility of a bonus.

On Nov. 12, 1995, Mr. Gauvin was informed that he was entitled to a bonus calculated from that date in the amount of $2 per hour. It was not until February 1996 that the details of the bonus payment scheme were fully communicated to Mr. Gauvin.