In a helpful decision for employers looking to minimize wasteful litigation (Frith v. Cable Birdge Enterprises Limited, 2013 ONSC 6436), an Ontario Divisional Court Judge overturned a trial court judge’s decision that a plaintiff could puruse her employer for termination pay (notice and severance) before the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) and the Superior Court even though her complaint before the MOL was never adjudicated (it appears she withdrew her complaint months after filing it).
This decision is an important reminder for employees to make sure that they pick the correct forum before going after their employer for termination pay. While filing via the MOL can be faster and much cheaper (free), it will only result in getting an employee the statutory minimum. Filing in court allows the employee the opportunity to claim the generall more generous “reasonable notice”. However, this can be an expensive and lengthy process.
Bottom line? For employees – a little research before suing your employer can save/win you a lot of money. For employers – it’s helpful to know that employees generally only get one attempt to seek termination pay.