Digest: Duxbury v Crook, 2018 SKQB 353

Date:December 21, 2018

Reported as: 2018 SKQB 353

Docket Number: QB18342 , QBG 2201/17 JCR

Court: Court of Queen's Bench

Date: 2018-12-21

Judges:

  • Richmond

Subjects:

  • Employment Law � Wrongful Dismissal � Fixed Term Contract

Digest: The plaintiff brought an action for wrongful dismissal against the defendants and applied for summary judgment under Queen�s Bench rule 7-2. She requested damages, including punitive damages. The defendants agreed to proceeding summarily and at the hearing, the parties agreed that the plaintiff had a fixed term employment contract. The plaintiff, a Chartered Professional Accountant, was working as a controller when the defendant Crook asked her to join him in his chartered accountancy practice. In their written agreement, the plaintiff was hired for a two-year term commencing in March 2016 and terminating at the end of February 2018 although either party could give three months� notice to terminate the agreement before that date. The agreement also acknowledged that the plaintiff could continue to perform accounting work for three other firms. It specified that the plaintiff would perform her duties diligently as per an attached schedule, but none were listed therein. If she failed to discharge her duties and failed to remedy them after reasonable notice, then the agreement would be breached and might be cause for termination without notice or compensation in lieu. The agreement further specified she would be entitled to paid vacation for four weeks annually. The parties also signed a letter of intent for the purchase of the assets of the defendant accounting corporation although nothing in it constituted a binding commitment. In mid-January 2017, the plaintiff�s employment with the firm was terminated and, under the impression that she was entitled to notice, the plaintiff learned from Crook later that month that she was being dismissed for cause. She mitigated and found employment within a few months. Crook alleged that the plaintiff breached the employment agreement because of some attendance-related performance issues, time spent on the other companies she continued to work with, that she had taken holidays during the busiest time of the year, and that some of her work called into question her competence. He argued that the employment agreement had to be read in conjunction with the letter of intent in this case as the plaintiff was hired to act like an owner. The issues were whether the plaintiff had...

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