Arrangement contravened the Employment Standards Act

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Houston v. Advantage Car & Truck Rentals Ltd., 2003 CarswellOnt 4500, 28 C.C.E.L. (3d) 205 (Ont. C.A.)

Ryan Houston was the acting manager at a vehicle rental place when it suffered a number of cash shortages. The employer acknowledged Houston was not the only person with access to the cash, and did not accuse him of theft. The two parties entered into an agreement whereby the shortage would be deducted from his wages, and he was given a raise that exactly covered the deducted amount.

A few days later, after receiving counsel, Houston said he would no longer agree to the deductions because he was not responsible for the shortage. The employer maintained he was responsible because he was acting manager to which Houston responded he could not continue to work under those circumstances. The employer responded “fine, I accept your resignation.” Houston brought an action for wrongful dismissal and for punitive and aggravated damages.