Employers can’t rely on original termination clauses when employee responsibilities increase: court

By: Julius Melnitzer | March 27, 2023

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that employers can’t rely on termination clauses when employees’ duties have escalated significantly after they signed their original employment contracts, including situations where the employee didn’t receive a promotion.

In its ruling, the court relied on the changed substratum doctrine, which states termination clauses in a written employment contract that specify a notice period may be unenforceable if the employee’s responsibilities have expanded significantly since the signing of the agreement.

“The employer argued that the doctrine did not apply to a high-level executive whose job title was unchanged,” says lawyer David Conn, who represented the plaintiff Stefano Celestini. “But the court held that the doctrine didn’t require the employee to start off at a lower level.” MORE . . .

Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or https://legalwriter.net/contact.


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