Court puts brakes on notice periods

Reasonable notice awards for short-term employees were gradually increasing
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/08/2009

The British Columbia Court of Appeal is trying to slow a recent trend in which short-term employees in non-management positions have been awarded disproportionately large notice periods in wrongful dismissal cases, though it upheld a five-month notice period award for a Vancouver salesperson who was fired after nine months of service.

The court addressed the issue in the appeal of five months’ notice awarded to Jennifer Saalfeld, 37. Saalfeld was hired by Vancouver-based anti-theft software manufacturer Absolute Software on Oct. 16, 2006, and began work on Nov. 13. She was hired to be a territory manager who would pursue sales to the United States government. Her ten years’ experience in software sales as well as dealing with the U.S. government sealed the deal for her hiring.