Maternity leave no excuse to delay notice (Legal view)

B.C. Court of Appeal overturns lower court’s decision that constructive dismissal lawsuit repudiated employment contract
By Nikolay Chsherbinin
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/18/2010

In Lewis v. Terrace Tourism Society, the British Columbia Court of Appeal was faced with two intriguing issues: Whether an employee on maternity leave was entitled to receive reasonable notice of termination of her employment if the employer ceased operations prior to her return and whether the employee’s lawsuit against the employer, filed during the course of employment, amounted to just cause for dismissal.

In a two-to-one decision, the court determined that during unpaid leave, the employee’s legal right to reasonable notice does not change. In reversing a lower court’s finding that her lawsuit was just cause for dismissal, the B.C. Court of Appeals raises an interesting question about the legal effect of a lawsuit on the employment relationship.

Employer closes shop