It is a relatively little-known fact to non-lawyers that just as
employers are required to provide employees with reasonable notice
of termination, employees are likewise required to provide
employers with reasonable notice of resignation. A 2016
Ontario Superior Court of Justice case has recently confirmed
In the case of Gagnon & Associates Inc. v. Jesso et
al., the company sought damages from employee Barry Jesso
("Jesso") for having resigned his employment without
notice. Jesso had been employed by Gagnon & Associates
Inc. (the "Company") for 10 years and at the time of
resignation was responsible for approximately 30% of the
Company's annual HVAC sales. His colleague Patrice
Comeau, also a defendant in the litigation, was responsible for a
further 30% of the Company's annual sales. In 2006 Jesso
and Comeau approached one of the Company's competitors and
entered into an agreement with it to open a satellite office.
It was at that point that they both provided the Company with their
notices of resignation.
The court stated that the notice of resignation period required
by an employee will be a function of the employee's position
with the employer and the time that it would reasonably take the
employer to replace the employee or otherwise take steps to adjust
to the loss of the employee. The court then made a finding on
the evidence that although Jesso was not a fiduciary employee, a
reasonable notice of resignation period was 2 months given that:
(i) Jesso was responsible for a significant percentage of the
Company's sales; (ii) the market for experienced HVAC
salespeople was limited and it would likely take approximately 2
months to find a replacement; and (iii) Jesso knew that the
Company's other senior salesperson was resigning on the same
day, thereby putting the Company in a very difficult position.
It is important to bear in mind that where an employee has
signed a proper employment agreement which sets out a notice of
resignation period, the employee will probably be bound by that
contractual provision. Likewise, for employees who work in
jurisdictions that have employment standards legislation containing
a notice of resignation provision, they may be bound by same.
Finally, there is a long line of separate case-law which confirms
that fiduciary employees have obligations to provide reasonable
notice of resignation to their employers. That said, the
Gagnon v. Jesso case is a helpful reminder that even when
there is no contract, no legislation and no fiduciary relationship,
an employee may still owe his or her employer a reasonable notice
of resignation period.
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ten days following the election, join us for a discussion with Gary Doer, former Canadian Ambassador to the US, and Gordon Giffin, US Ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, to discuss how the new President and Congressional makeup will shape US-Canada relations for years to come.
On November 8, 2016, the United States will go to the polls to elect their 45th president. Whether it is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, this decision will profoundly shape American policy for the next four to eight years. As our largest trading partner and neighbour to the south, the next US administration will influence a broad range of policy issues that directly impact Canada. These include the future of NAFTA and the TPP, the Arctic and geo-politics, the renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, and the energy sector.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).