Economic condition of business has no impact on reasonable notice

Zander v. Tractel Ltd., 2002 CarswellOnt 3546 (Ont. C.A.)

Zander sought damages for wrongful dismissal from Tractel Ltd. Zander had been employed by Tractel under the terms an oral employment contract since May 1984. His employment was terminated without cause or notice in June 1996. Zander, 49, had worked as an operations manager for the first 10 years of his employment with Tractel. Some of his responsibilities included opening up branches for the company and overseeing work across North America. He had been designated vice-president during the last two years of his employment.

Zander was seeking 16 months’ notice which the trial judge found to be an appropriate and even conservative amount. In fact the trial judge stated he would have been inclined to award a higher notice period even without taking into account Zander’s potential claim for an increased notice period.

The appeal court upheld this notice period, finding it was not unreasonable. The appeal court held it was unnecessary to consider Tractel’s argument the trial judge failed to consider the cyclical order or the economic condition of the business in determining reasonable notice.

The court rejected Tractel’s argument that Zander failed to mitigate by engaging in self-employment as opposed to going to work for another employer. Regardless of the type of replacement employment in question, the issue is whether the attempts at mitigation were reasonable.

Latest stories