CBC is reporting that a fired employee of an oilsands company has won her lawsuit. The catch is that this fired employee is not the one who filed the lawsuit. In fact, her company sued her in Small Claims Court for allegedly misrepresenting her credentials. However, the Small Claims Court judge sided with the employee, finding that she did not misrepresent her credentials and that there was no basis for the lawsuit. As a result, the company was ordered to reimburse her for her legal fees and expenses. Said the employee afterwards, “It’s a gorilla I’ve had to carry on my back.”
There are many lessons here, including:
1 – Employees can no longer be confident that they are immune from getting sued just because they were fired. Employers are often striking back at employees.
2 – Employers should think twice before suing an employee, particularly in a People’s Court venue such as the Small Claims Court. Fired employees tend to be given the benefit of the doubt and the court’s sympathy. An employer should have a bullet proof case (Is there such thing?) before choosing to sue an employee.
While this wrongful dismissal lawsuit took place in Edmonton, the lessons can still be applied to Ontario Small Claims Court.