A big breakup

Ontario worker lost job title, authority, privileges after romantic split with company owner; more than $190,000 in damages
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/05/2019
A big breakup
A big breakup

The end of a romantic relationship can be messy for both sides. It can get even messier when one person in the relationship owns the company for which the other person works. But regardless of how the personal relationship ends, ending the employment relationship has a number of legal obligations that can’t be avoided.

Alissa Churchill, 39, was hired by Aero Auction Sales — a Barrie, Ont.-based company specializing in vehicle and heavy equipment sales through auctions — in July 2009. Her position was that of vice-president of administration, which involved overseeing and supervising employees through the company’s bank accounts, human resources and payroll functions.

At the time of Churchill’s hire by Aero, she was in a common law relationship with Aero’s owner, Michael Duns, and the company didn’t draw up a written employment agreement. The relationship lasted for six years — during which they had three children together — until November 2015, when the couple separated.