The Court of Appeal for Ontario has upheld an award of 10 months’ notice for a director of marketing and communications.
The New Zealand and Australian Lamb Company appealed the ruling that gave Pylyp Pavlov wrongful dismissal damages. Pavlov was terminated without cause on May 28, 2020. At the time, he was 47, earning $131,943 plus benefits and had been on the job just under three years.
Pavlov had no luck in finding a similar job, applying for more than 100 jobs and retaining private career coaching services to help him land a new gig.
While 10 months may seem like a lot of notice for a relatively short-tenure employee, the trial judge accepted that he was recruited to work for the New Zealand and Australian Lamb Company from “comparatively secure employment” with a large, established multinational company.
He was led to believe the new job offered more responsibility, authority and growth within the organization. While he was not a corporate officer, he held a comparatively senior and important position, the trial judge said.
The lower court cited the timing of the dismissal — May 2020 — which was during the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was reasonable to infer that Pavlov that the “effects and uncertainties of the pandemic were obstacles to his efforts to find alternate employment.”
The company would, or should, have known of these obstacles at the time of termination, the lower court said.
In addition to the 10 months’ notice, the court also awarded a pro-rated bonus: Pavlov was eligible to receive an annual bonus of up to 15 per cent of his base pay.
The court also awarded costs to Pavlo in the amount of $50,000 plus disbursements of $4,560.28.
The employer appealed, challenging the notice period, entitlement to bonus and the costs that were awarded.
The Court of Appeal saw no merit in the company’s arguments. There was no palpable or overriding error (or error of any kind, it said) with the trial judge’s decision or analysis.
It dismissed the appeal and awarded additional costs to Pavlov for the costs of the appeal — $24,000, all-inclusive.
For more information see Pavlov v. The New Zealand and Australian Lamb Company Limited, 2022 ONCA 655 (CanLII)