Basic minimum notice period seems to be two months

Ivens v. Automodular Assemblies Inc. (2002), 18 C.C.E.L. (3d) 240 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Roben Ivens was hired as a labourer by Automodular Assemblies Inc. and was dismissed after two months of employment. As a result of various health-related issues, she was absent from work on a number of occasions. Her employment was terminated for cause due to excessive absenteeism and failure to meet the company’s performance standards.

The trial judge held Automodular had failed to follow its normal disciplinary procedure as outlined in its employee handbook in dismissing Ivens in respect of her performance.

The issue of significance in this case related to the consideration of Ivens’ pregnancy as a factor which could be taken into account in determining the appropriate period of notice. The argument on behalf of Ivens was that her pregnancy was a factor which should be considered because it would make finding alternative employment difficult.

The trial judge rejected this argument, stating he was not provided with any case where a court had explicitly recognized pregnancy as a factor which should be taken into account.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice overturned the trial judge’s decision holding that her pregnancy complications were a factor which should have been considered for Ivens. Although it rejected the notion pregnancy should be given precedence as an overriding and dominant factor, it did substitute the trial judge’s original award of one week’s salary with an award equivalent to eight weeks.

Given that her length of employment was two months in total, an award of two months’ notice supports the notion there is a basic minimum notice period which courts will award in cases of wrongful dismissal which this case suggests is about two months.

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