When the employer is the victim

If an employee’s actions cause damage to the employer, there are occasions – albeit rare – where it’s worthwhile to sue
By Tim Mitchell
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/14/2011

While many employees file legal actions against their employers, circumstances where employers sue former employees have been mostly restricted to high-loss, high-return litigation.

These actions typically involve key employees who departed in groups and are bound by express restrictive covenants or fiduciary duties. The amounts at stake in such cases are often huge and the litigation correspondingly worthwhile.

The value of suing rank-and-file employees is not often readily apparent. Due to the power imbalance, the optics of such an action are not good and collecting an award is likely to be an exercise in futility. The courts are not always willing to assist an employer in such pursuits, so money invested in these actions is rarely well-spent. As a result, many employers feel it is enough to cut their losses and rid themselves of a troublesome employee without maintaining an ongoing connection in court.