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Levy c. Standard Desk Inc., 2013 QCCA 1473 (CanLII)

Published under Employment law, Severance

Issue: Reasonability of indemnity notice in lieu of notice & moral damages.  Complete Decision.

The employee, with 41 years of service as quality control supervisor in Laval, earned $38,620 yearly.  The employer gave 2.5 months prior notice however all employees were advised 5 months prior that the company would close down shortly.  The employee was offered similar employment and conditions with the employer’s affiliate in Granby.  The employee refused and claimed a total indemnity of 24 months as well as moral damages.

At first instance, the judge considered that the employee should have accepted the offer of employment in Granby however awarded the employee an additional indemnity in lieu of notice of 14 months.  Thus a total period representing 16.5 months.  The judge found no proof or moral damages because the employer exercised its right to terminate the employment without fault and not abusively.

Decision: The Court of Appeal found that the judge’s decision regarding the absence of moral damages to be correct.  Further, the Court held the employee could not be faulted for refusing to accept the employment offer.  The Court held that the indemnity awarded, given the employees position, exceeded what was reasonable.  The Court reduced the total indemnity period from 16.5 to 10 months.  Given the 2.5 months of prior notice given, the employer was to indemnify for 7.5 months.