Written by Michael J Weiler

The most common question from clients with respect to terminations without cause and without notice in the absence of an enforceable employment agreement is “How Much Notice?” Courts will look at four key elements to determine how much is reasonable notice:  age, length of service, position and the availability of similar employment having regard to the employee’s skills and qualifications.  The court will often look at economic circumstances but will not give that factor undue weight.  The highest period of notice, subject to a few exceptions, is 24 months.  Please bear in mind that each case will be decided on its own facts and there is no litmus test.   Further, the amount of notice will not always equal the damage award as the employee must mitigate her damages and must also prove her loss (e.g. lost benefits or bonuses).

The following cases from this past year will give you some idea of the courts’ present thinking on the matter.  These can be very important factors in each case, especially dealing with senior executives whose compensation can often exceed $20,000 per month.

Case Name Employee Position Income Age Period of Employment Notice Period
Ly v Interior Health Manager of team $97,000 38  2 months 3 months
Ram v Burger King Cook $21,000 55 24 years 12 months
Price v 481530 BC Ltd Manager hair loss clinic and 20% owner $77,000 (commission and salary) 47 20 years 20 months
Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd Sales/event planner (not managerial) $100,000 48 8 years 9 months
Sollows v Albion Fisheries Senior manager $160,000 plus bonus 60 2 years 9 months 10 months
Buchanan v Introjunction Senior software engineer $125,000 plus bonus/stock 27 None [1] 6 weeks
Sletmoen v Nafco Machine operator $66,500 52 18 years 16 months
Mudrovcic v Engenuity Manufacturing Responsible position $81,000 48 19 years 21 months
Nogueira v Second Cup Manager $125,000 47 8.5 months 4 months
Ensign v Price’s Alarm System Medical Alert advisor/salesman $30,000 (salary plus commissions) 63 12 years 12 months

[1] An offer of employment was rescinded 2 weeks after being made and prior to employment commencing.