Fired TD bank worker has ‘unmeritorious case’ tossed out by Ontario court

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A TD bank worker who was fired for cause and sued his for employer after signing a release during successful mediation has had his case tossed out by an Ontario court.

Justice Healey of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the case with a summary judgement, “getting this unmeritorious case out of the system more quickly” and awarding modest costs to the bank.

What happened?

The worker was fired by TD Bank for cause on Jan. 31, 2019.

Leading up to that event, he filed a human rights complaint on Oct. 31, 2018, with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. On March 7, 2019, he filed an unjust dismissal complaint under the Canada Labour Code.

TD agreed to mediation for the unjust dismissal complaint in the summer of 2019. It took place by phone and email in the summer of 2019, and resulted in a settlement.

The bank agreed to pay him two sums for a total of $45,000 — one was a direct payment and the other a contribution to his RRSP. Following that payment, he would withdraw the complaint and return his company laptop and phone within 10 days.

The comprehensive release he signed also provided for a holdback of $10,000. The worker was to provide TD with a notice of debt in relation to an overpayment of employment insurance. At that point, it would pay the remainder of the $10,000 after deductions required by law, including any EI overpayment which was to be remitted directly to the Receiver General by TD.

TD made its payment, withholding the $10,000, and the worker withdrew his human rights complaint in early July 2019. But he refused to withdraw the unjust dismissal complaint or return TD’s property.

Worker unhappy with payment

On Nov. 3, 2019. the worker sent the bank a picture of his EI repayment notice to the bank. It indicated a balance owing of $4,923. It then processed the $10,000 holdback. The funds were subject to a 30 per cent withholding tax and the $4,923 was sent to the Receiver General. These amounts totalled $7,923 and the balance of $2,077 was paid to the worker on Nov. 8, 2019.

The worker objected to the amount he received out of the $10,000. The calculations were explained to him, but he did not accept they were legitimate. His emailed response was “You will see what I’m going to do…”

He proceeded with the unjust dismissal complaint and an adjudicator was appointed. The result of that was a ruling that the matter had already been settled during mediation with the signed release.

The worker also asked to reactivate his human rights complaint. As of January 2022, the Canadian Human Rights Commission had not granted that request.

Statement of claim

On June 1, 2021, the worker issued a statement of claim, which ended up at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. It did not seek any relief in relation to the release, nor did it mention the mediation and its outcome. It relayed a series of grievances connected to his termination of employment with TD and sought monetary compensation.

TD filed its statement of defence on June 23, 2021. The worker filed another statement of claim against TD on Dec. 6, 2021, raising further employment-related allegations. (That claim was not before the court on this motion.)

The court quickly shot down the worker’s claim.

“The evidence shows that the plaintiff negotiated and signed the Release after voluntarily participating in the mediation,” the court said. “He received the benefits of the bargain.”

TD fulfilled its side of the deal, and the worker did not allege that the release was unenforceable nor did he ask for it to be set aside.

“Its unambiguous terms, to which he agreed, disallows him from pursuing this and any other claims against TD that arise from or are connected with his employment or its termination,” the court said.

“The Release operates as a complete bar to this claim, and accordingly, it has no chance of succeeding. A trial is not necessary to reach this legal conclusion.”

Limitation period exceeded

It also pointed out that the worker was dismissed on Jan. 31, 2019, and this claim was filed on June 1, 2021. That was past the two-year limitation period, the court said.

“Accordingly, the lapsed limitation period operates as a complete bar to this claim, and a trial is not necessary to reach this legal conclusion,” it said.

Further, it said the worker’s conduct “shows his intention to continue to litigate against TD.” Granting summary judgment meets the interest of justice by “being less expensive” and “getting this unmeritorious case out of the system more quickly.”

TD sought costs for the motion, but only asked for $5,000 because the worker was unemployed. The court found that reasonable and ordered the worker to pay TD the funds within 30 days.

For more information see Badawy v. TD Bank Group, 2022 ONSC 5445 (CanLII)