The Vancouver Sun has reported that a British Columbia jury
recently awarded employee Larry Higginson over half a million
dollars in punitive damages, on top of a $236,000 award for
wrongful dismissal, taking damages flowing from a wrongful
dismissal to new heights in Higginson v. Babine Forest Products
Ltd. and Hampton Lumber Mills Inc.
The Jury decision is not reported, however according to reports,
Mr. Higginson had been employed for 34 years with the Defendant,
Babine Forest Products Ltd., until he was dismissed on October 14,
2009, apparently for just cause. The employer alleged that Mr.
Higginson failed to perform his duties as a manager. In response,
Mr. Higginson alleged that cause had not been established and that
the employer had set him up for termination of employment, had made
his working environment miserable and had alleged cause to avoid
the obligation to pay notice of termination of employment to
The Prince George B.C. jury found that the employer did not have
cause to terminate his employment, and awarded damages in excess of
$800,000 as a result of the wrongful dismissal.
Such a large punitive damages award has not been seen since the
2008 Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $500,000 to a
wrongfully dismissed employee in Keays v. Honda Canada Inc.
However, in Keays, the Supreme Court of Canada (2008 SCC 39)
overturned the punitive damages award on appeal.
A Notice of Appeal was filed in Higginson on July 18, 2012.
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Back in July 2012, we covered "PVYW v Comcare" (No 2),  FCA 395, which concerned an employee in the HR department of an Australian government agency who was injured on a work-related trip to a country town in New South Wales.
The employee, Ashworth, alleged that the manager demanded that she close the door and then positioned herself in front of the closed door and started screaming and pointing her finger in the employee’s face.
A discussion on the judicial decision in a recent case, where a BC employer has successfully defended a claim for constructive dismissal despite taking away supervisory duties and moving the employee from an office to a cubicle.