Dismissal itself is not unfair

Unfairness or bad faith in the manner of dismissal is required in order to receive an award of aggravated damages
By Ronald Minken
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/13/2017

Aggravated damages from the termination of employment do not arise just because the employee is upset about the dismissal — there needs to be unfairness or bad faith in the manner of the dismissal. This was the notion that was upheld in the recent British Columbia Court of Appeal case, Lau v. Royal Bank of Canada.

Marco Lau worked as an account manager for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and was sponsored by Royal Mutual Funds (RMFI) to sell mutual funds. After a client complained about Lau not following instructions, RBC launched an internal investigation. What it found was that Lau had been incorrectly tracking his sales in order to increase his sales numbers. In addition, RBC determined that Lau had lied about the details of his meeting with the client who complained.

After an investigation, RBC terminated Lau’s employment for cause. He was dismissed during a meeting with his branch manager and the regional vice-president, in which he was provided with a termination letter. Lau was offered an employee assistance program for three months, which he declined. He was also given the opportunity to clear out his desk at a later time but he chose to do so right away.