Action to be in Ontario

Factor of compensation plan clause specifying Massachusetts as proper jurisdiction outweighed
|Canadian Employment Law Today

EMC Corporation, located in Hopkinton, Mass., is the parent company to EMC Corporation of Canada. When Dave Butchart was hired in January 1994 to work as a sales representative for EMC, he was hired by EMC Corporation of Canada. He worked in the Mississauga, Ont., office and reported to persons located in the Mississauga office. He was paid in Canadian dollars. When Mr. Butchart was terminated in December 1999, it was by the area sales manager for the company in Ontario. The only reference to the parent U.S. company was his employment letter which was on the letterhead of the U.S. company.

Mr. Butchart brought an action for wrongful dismissal in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the Canadian company. In his action, he claimed salary, commission earnings, bonus and the right to exercise stock options (or damages in lieu) during the period of reasonable notice. EMC admitted that it did not have just cause for Mr. Butchart’s termination.

EMC brought a motion before a master seeking to have Mr. Butchart’s action stayed on the grounds that Massachusetts was the more appropriate forum in which to bring the action. After hearing the motion, the master ordered that the issues of the commissions owing and the stock option plan should be heard in a Massachusetts court and that the issue of damages for wrongful dismissal be heard in an Ontario court.