Fired worker’s attempt to toss out termination clause foiled

Termination clause met statutory notice requirements with broad wording that indicated intention to include what was legally required
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/12/2018

A fired Ontario worker’s claim that the termination clause in her employment contract was not enforceable for failing to meet statutory minimum requirements and being unconscionable has been dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Althea Burton joined Toronto law firm Aronovitch McCauley Rollo LLP (AMR) on March 3, 2003, as a legal assistant. After she completed a probationary period, Burton was enrolled in a group benefit program provided by a third-party insurer that was completely funded by AMR.

Burton’s employment contract included a termination clause that allowed the firm to terminate her employment without cause by providing her with “severance pay in accordance with the Employment Standards Act, as amended, and any successor legislation, if so required as at the time of a non-cause termination.” The clause also clarified that if the amount she received in such a termination were less that the legislative entitlement, she would be given “notice, severance pay, and any other payment required by the relevant legislation in force at the time of the termination.” The contract also included a confidentiality clause.