The HR Space: Employers Beware: Keays Principles Lead to Large Damage Award against Employer

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Labour, Employment and Human Rights Bulletin
November 24, 2009

An Alberta court was recently put to the test - whether it too is following the principles set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Honda v. Keays to awarding bad faith and punitive damages. On October 13, 2009, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench released its reasons in Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada where it followed the Supreme Court's principles, although this time against the employer.

In this case, Mr. Soost, a former financial advisor, was awarded damages of $2.2 million - including $1.6 million for the manner in which Merrill Lynch terminated him and to compensate him for his inability to compete fairly after he was fired. Consistent with Keays, the Court did not award an arbitrary extension of the notice period or any punitive damages.