‘Substantial’ changes turn out to be inconsequential

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Rasanen v. Lisle-Metrix Ltd. (2002), 17 C.C.E.L. (3d) 134 (Ont. S.C.J.)

The defendant hired the plaintiff, a 59-year-old professional engineer, in 1985 as a marketing and sales manager. The terms of employment included an annual salary of $45,000 plus bonus and benefits, and provided for one month’s notice of termination per year of employment to a maximum of six months, except if dismissed for cause. The plaintiff was dismissed with six months’ notice in 1994. Almost six years after his termination, the plaintiff commenced this action for damages for wrongful dismissal.

The plaintiff argued the notice provisions in the employment contract were no longer in effect at the date of termination because of substantial changes to or fundamental breaches of the employment contract by the employer.