Kelly McDougald, the ex CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp has reportedly settled her wrongful dismissal case against the Ontario Government for approximately $750,000.00, according to a Toronto Star article on Saturday.
The deal is being criticized by opposition parties first, because the details were released over the holidays in an effort to downplay the payout and second, because it's approximately $400,000 more than what the Star reported McDougald would have taken in a settlement when she was first fired.
McDougald was fired during the OLG expense scandal earlier this year and argued that she was made a scapegoat by the Ontario Government. The Government alleged it had "cause" for McDougald's termination, which if correct, would mean that she wouldn't be entitled to any severance pay at all.
Cause for dismissal is typically very difficult for an employer to demonstrate. It must show that the conduct it complains of can actually be proven and that a lesser of form of punishment was not appropriate or available.
It appears that McDougald may have had a severance clause in her contract which would have required the Government to pay her a year's salary if dismissed without cause. Therefore, the additional damages (almost $400,000) could be made up from her claims that the OLG's treatment and publicity following her termination would effectively prevent her from obtaining other work quickly or at all.
Daniel Lublin is an employment lawyer at the law firm Whitten & Lublin LLP, which focusses on the law of dismissal. Daniel can be reached at email@example.com or through his website www.toronto-employmentlawyer.com.