Fixed-term contract not void in whole or in part

Ontario civil | Employment

WRONGFUL DISMISSAL

Fixed-term contract not void in whole or in part

Defendant employed plaintiff. Plaintiff sought accommodation from defendant to move back to Ottawa for pressing family reasons and to keep his Toronto-based managerial job. Plaintiff signed new fixed-term employment contract. Defendant underwent restructuring. Defendant advised plaintiff that his contract would not be renewed and it expired in accordance with its terms. Plaintiff received all statutory severance and termination amounts and seven months in notice and payments. Plaintiff asserted new employment agreement he signed was void. Plaintiff brought wrongful dismissal action. Plaintiff sought summary judgment fixing period of reasonable notice that he would be entitled to absent fixed-term contract. Motion dismissed. Claim dismissed. Contract was not void in whole or in part. Plaintiff freely accepted fixed-term contract. Although plaintiff had hopes that contract might be renewed, he understood he had no rights to require renewal. Contract was not entered into without consideration. Defendant did not agree to accept plaintiff’s telecommuting proposal without some or all of alterations to employment contract that were proposed to plaintiff. Parties were apart on terms and continued to negotiate. Defendant did not acquiesce and there was no evidence to suggest that plaintiff thought it had. It was not case of duress. There was alternative open to plaintiff and there was no time pressure applied to plaintiff to preclude him from seeking legal advice. Defendant did not discourage plaintiff from seeking legal advice. Plaintiff took no steps to avoid contract. Fixed term provision of employment agreement that or provided for termination was not null and void. Contract could not be nullified for failure to state that law would be complied with. No notice of termination was required where contract expired in accordance with its terms.
Riskie v. Sony of Canada Ltd. (Sep. 22, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., Sean F. Dunphy J., File No. CV-15-525137) 258 A.C.W.S. (3d) 330.

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