Determining reasonable notice damages ‘an art, not a science’

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Montague v. Bank of Nova Scotia, 2001 CarswellOnt 5895 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Yvonne Montague was terminated from her employment at the Bank of Nova Scotia in July, 1991, after working there for nearly 16 years. She sued for wrongful dismissal, and prior to trial the bank admitted it didn't have cause to terminate her employment.

In October 2001 the judge awarded Montague damages equal to 16 months’ notice, plus $5,000 for interest and costs. For her work as a data entry operator Montague had earned $24,750 per year plus a shift bonus of about $1,250 per year. Montague appealed, claiming the judge had awarded too little and that he had been wrong in dismissing her claim for aggravated and punitive damages. The bank cross-appealed, claiming the notice period was too long.