Fired AlarmForce CEO files $11.3 million wrongful dismissal suit

Joel Matlin claims company didn’t have cause but denied him notice and damaged his reputation
||Last Updated: 09/30/2013

A security and emergency response monitoring company is facing an $11.3 million lawsuit after it terminated its top executive.

Joel Matlin, 65, founded AlarmForce industries in 1988 and has provided security alarms, personal emergency response monitoring, video surveillance and other home security services in Canada and the U.S. ever since. Matlin headed the company — and was its public face in advertisements — up until July 23 of this year, when he was fired by AlarmForce. The company issued a press release stating Matlin had been terminated by the AlarmForce board of directors after a “strategic review.”

Matlin has launched a suit claiming $1.3 million in wrongful dismissal damages and $10 million in punitive and aggravated damages for bad faith in the manner of dismissal on the company’s part. Matlin claims AlarmForce provided no notice of dismissal and didn’t have just cause, which breached his contract.

Matlin also claims he had family members working at AlarmForce who were punished for their connection to him. His son was fired when he returned from two weeks of paternal leave and his stepson was reported to police for not leaving company property, though he had been allowed to stay by an HR manager, according to Matlin’s statement of claim.

"The bad faith manner of termination above has caused Joel to suffer additional mental distress, damage to his reputation, and aggravated damages beyond his contractual damages for wrongful dismissal," said Matlin’s statement of claims.

Matlin, 65, said in the statement of claim that he was terminated ahead of a meeting to present his new vision for the company to the board of directors, and forced to leave the building without being given time to collect his belongings.

The suit also claims several of Matlin's family members working at AlarmForce were suspended and then terminated because of their relationship with him.

Those included his son, who was fired upon his return to work following two weeks of paternal leave, and Matlin's step-son, who was reported to police for failing to leave the premises despite being given permission to stay by a human resources manager, the suit said.

"The experience has been very tough because the dismissal was an absolute surprise to me and I'm just astounded by the way the board treated me," Matlin told the Canadian Press.

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