Oral Reasons for Judgment
Mr. Justice W.S. Selbie


Counsel for Plaintiff Lawrence W. Coulter, Esq.
Counsel for Defendant John W. Motiuk, Esq
Date of Hearing: November 27 and 28, 1985

The plaintiff sues for wrongful dismissal. The defendant defends on the basis that the plaintiff was dismissed for cause.

After reviewing the evidence of all parties I am satisfied that the situation leading up to the plaintiff's release was as follows:

The plaintiff was employed by the defendant continuously except for seasonal breaks from 1976. In 1979 be became head shipper. In July 1985, he was dismissed. In the last nine or ten months of his employment things had been going increasingly wrong so far as shipments to buyers were concerned. There were in particular some very serious mistakes made, some of which could be directly attributable to the plaintiff, and some of which could not. They depended on what was expected of his job and what was expected seemed to be in the mind of the beholders. To illustrate, the failure to wrap the shipment to San Diego can probably be attributed directly to the fault of the……

To that I would add a further consideration - the quality of the work performed.

In the case of Gillespie and Gillespie v. Bulkley valley Forest Industries limited (1975) 1 W.W.R. 607, Mr. Justice Robertson of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in referred to the above passage said:

"…I respectfully accept it, subject to the qualification that it is not necessarily exhaustive.

Counsel, cited a number of cases in which various periods for notices of dismissal had been held to be appropriate. I get next to no help from them, for each depended on its own facts, just as this case does."

In the case of Nicholls v. Corporation of the Township of Richmond et al (1985) B.C.D. 1296-05, McLachlin J. (as she then was) in speaking of the principles underlying the award for damages for wrongful dismissal said:

"It is not the termination but the lack of adequate notice of termination. Damages are not awarded to compensate for the termination but for the fact that the plaintiff has been deprived of the period of notice to which in law he is entitled"

As Mr. Justice Robertson said in the Gillespie case. That period of notice required depends on the facts in each case.

In the final result, I find six months notice in this case to be an appropriate and adequate period for notice of termination. That period calculated from July 12 which I find to be the date of termination. Damages will be calculated, however, from September 9 because the period between July 12 and September 9 was the period of his injury when he was unable to work. He would not have received any compensation for that period so logically he can receive no damages. The calculation of damages, therefore, will commence from September 9. They will be awarded on the basis of 14 - 40 hour weeks at $15.00 per hour or $8,400.00 gross. The evidence is that the plaintiff would ordinarily have been entitled to three weeks holiday pay. In the circumstances, since none had been taken for that year it is only reasonable to assume that that holiday period would have been taken during the balance of the year which is covered by the damages awarded. By virtue of my award, that three week period has been covered by his receiving full salary for the period. I consider this as sufficient and there will be no specific damages for loss of holiday entitlement.

The plaintiff also asks specific damages for expenses incurred in looking for work after his dismissal. In my view, those expenses would have been incurred in any event and such a claim is dismissed.

There will be Court Order interest dating from December 12, 1984 and costs to the plaintiff.

New Westminster, B.C.
December 12, 1985


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