Lawyer dismisses associate for lack of work then claims just cause

Senior lawyer claimed just cause after junior lawyer filed wrongful dismissal complaint
|Canadian Employment Law Today

An Ontario lawyer is entitled to two months’ pay after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled she wasn’t fired for a shortage of work.

Sharon Johnston was hired in January 2004 as an associate by Leonard Levencrown, a lawyer with his own family law practice in Ottawa. The two had a good working relationship during Johnston’s two years with Levencrown’s practice.

Eventually, the practice began experiencing financial difficulties and Levencrown couldn’t afford to give Johnston an annual raise. The practice was finding it hard to pay its own legal fees, there were no new clients and overdue accounts weren’t paid. On Feb. 8, 2006, Levencrown told Johnston there was a lack of work. He issued a record of employment stating lack of work as the reason for termination and told a colleague he didn’t have enough work to keep both of them occupied.