Fired executive’s 26-month notice period includes share bonus

Employee shareholder agreement deemed transfer of shares at termination, but didn’t exclude common law entitlement for notice period
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/06/2019

An Ontario firm must pay a wrongfully dismissed executive almost $400,000 in lieu of 26 months’ reasonable notice, plus a bonus for company shares that he would have earned during that notice period, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled.

Ivars Mikelsteins, 58, began working for Morrison Hershfield, an employee-owned engineering firm that provides engineering and constructing consulting services throughout Canada and the U.S., in 1986 — his first job out of school. Over time, he made his way up the ladder to become the director, business development, for the firm’s Telecom Business Unit. His employment agreement included a non-solicitation clause that stipulated he couldn’t work for a competitor of Morrison Hershfield for a period of one year after termination of his employment.

Mikelsteins’ job duties as a director of business development included about 50 per cent sales and business development. Mikelsteins had a technical background through his education and took sales courses while employed with Morrison Hershfield. He met with existing clients, secured ongoing projects, and sought out new ones. Usually, he managed between 20 and 30 projects at any one time and performed technical reviews of engineers’ work, with one direct report and many co-workers on the projects.