Fired BC Worker Wins 18 Months Pay, $25K Damages

Fired BC Worker Wins 18 Months Pay, $25K Damages

How did the termination of employment impact Mr. Klyn’s financial stability?

Klyn v Pentax Canada Inc., 2024 BCSC 372, a recent case from British Columbia demonstrates the price employers can pay for failing to uphold their own contracts during the termination of an employee.

The employee, Mr. Klyn, had begun working for Pentax Canada in 2006, before which he signed an employment agreement setting out his compensation as based 100 percent upon commissions. The contract also allowed Pentax to terminate his employment by giving him notice or pay in lieu of notice, severance pay under the BC Employment Standards Act, and “four weeks per completed year of service.” Compensation in the contract was defined as “the average of commission payments paid or payable to you in the two fiscal years completed (or part fiscal years) immediately before the date that your employment is terminated.”

In 2014, Mr. Klyn signed a new addition to his contract changing his compensation to $100,000.00 base salary plus additional commissions. In 2022, Pentax terminated Mr. Klyn’s employment without cause, and in the termination letter offered to pay him in accordance with the termination clause. However, the letter also stipulated certain conditions, including: 1) that Mr. Klyn would have to report all mitigation efforts, which could result in ending of all termination payments, and 2) that he would only be paid salary for this period.


The court found that Pentax had breached Mr. Klyn’s contract when it failed to follow its terms in both not paying what was owed, and by attempting to introduce new contract terms in the termination letter, such as the requirement to report his mitigation efforts. Pentax could therefore not rely on the terms and Mr. Klyn was entitled to common law notice.

The court awarded Mr. Klyn 18 months of payment in lieu of notice, based on his average earnings in the two years prior to the termination.

Punitive Damages

The court also awarded Mr. Klyn $25,000.00. punitive damages for Pentax’s conduct in the termination, which it found to be oppressive as it attempted to leverage its own refusal to abide by the contract in order to extract concessions from Mr. Klyn.

How can Whitten and Lublin Help?

Employers often make settlement offers upon termination of employment that include certain concessions, such as the signing of a full and final release, mitigation requirements, and restrictions on certain payments. Employers should always check the written employment contracts of an employee who is being dismissed to ensure that all contractual obligations are taken into account when offering a settlement.

Employees should likewise ensure that they review termination offers and employment contracts with a qualified employment lawyer, as the employer’s failure to uphold these obligations could result in both a voiding of a termination clause as well as extraordinary damages. If you are an employee who has recently been terminated, or an employer who requires guidance on termination, Whitten & Lublin is here to assist you in understanding entitlements and obligations. Contact us online or by phone at (647) 951-8130.