A hasty resignation can be costly

“We only part to meet again”
John Gay

Seldom do employers bother to sue their ex-employees. But the tables are turned when a hasty resignation proves costly.

Few have heard of a lawsuit for wrongful resignation. Once thought to be a remote claim, there are cases that have found their way to the courts in recent years and awakened the prospects of companies looking to recover damages caused by an employee who departs without giving a warning or even a goodbye.

Here are three different cases where an employee’s impetuous departure lead to a decision of wrongful resignation;

1. Offering his services for only a few months, Gary Bradley resigned from Carleton Electric leaving the former employer with substantial economic loses. After his resignation, Bradley surprised his former employer by suing for unpaid wages. Instead of defending the merits of Bradley’s lawsuit alone, it responded by suing him for wrongful resignation-and won. Bradley’s failure to provide appropriate notice of his resignation proved costly; he was ordered to pay Carleton Electric $10,000.

2. When the general manager and two salesmen of Sure-Grip Fasteners left, without notice, and opened a competing business a few kilometers away, Sure-Grip was left without a sales staff in Southern Ontario. To add insult to injury, the former employees started to solicit orders from former customers. After the trial was heard, Sure-Grip had the last laugh when it was awarded $75,000 from the group of ex-employees for their failure to give reasonable notice of their resignations.

3. A group of RBC Dominion Securities employees left en masse to join a competing firm, incensing their ex-employer. After the trial was heard, the judge decided the ex-employees were liable to pay damages for resigning without adequate notice.

Few employers bother to sue ex-employees for not providing enough notice of their resignation. As these examples demonstrate, these lawsuits typically arise in the context of defending a claim for wrongful dismissal. The consequences of a successful suit against an ex-employee can be severe.

So if you are thinking about resigning, here are four legal principles to keep your career on track and your case out of court;

1. The proper measure to calculate an employee’s duty to give notice is based on the amount of time it would reasonably require the employer to find a replacement.

2. If you posses specialized skills or are contemplating leaving the employer in a vulnerable situation, your duty to give advanced notice is heightened.

3. In assessing your obligation, consider the labour market and your employer’s ability to replace you.

4. You may have a contractual duty to give advanced notice. Have counsel review your employment agreement(s) to determine whether any specific period of notice was agreed to and whether it must be followed.

It’s good practice to err on the side of caution. by doing so, you can avoid an irate ex-employer making you the next example of a wrongful resignation.

Click here for the original article from Metro News

Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful dismissal.  He can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.toronto-employmentlawyer.com