Reaching a verdict on the jury (Editor’s Notes)

If juries like to punish employers for firing workers, why aren't more workers opting for them?
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/10/2012

Juries, by their nature, love David. They’re not big fans of Goliath. In almost every employment law case, employers will be cast as the big, bad giant.

So, when it comes to wrongful dismissal cases, employers should avoid jury trials like the plague, as a recent ruling in British Columbia shows. Ron Minken discusses the case in depth on page five but the fact a jury saw fit to award more than $800,000 — $236,000 for wrongful dismissal and $573,000 in punitive damages — shows what can happen when a jury decides.

The B.C. jury isn’t alone in awarding out-of-whack damages. In 2005, a Nova Scotia jury tacked on 48 months’ notice in a wrongful dismissal case because of the way CHC Helicopters terminated the employment of Wendy Jessen. She had only been on the job for two-and-a-half years.