The Court Provides Further Clarity on the Employee’s Duty to Mitigate Damages When Offered Re-Employment
In Gent v Strone, the Court found that the Defendant employer had constructively dismissed the Plaintiff employee upon the commencement of a temporary lay off – due to the absence of an enforceable Employment Agreement permitting them to do so. However, the Court indicated that the employee had, in turn, acted unreasonably and consequently, failed to mitigate his damages by refusing to return to work when the Company recalled him only one month later, choosing instead to bring forward a claim for constructive dismissal. In making this decision, the Court took a holistic approach in considering the practicality of the employee returning to the Company. When taking into consideration the “harmonious and amicable relationship” between the two parties for over 23 years, the Court ultimately found that the employee had no intention of accepting work, regardless of the circumstances. Ultimately, the Court only awarded the employee damages for the period of the layoff – a meager 3.5 weeks! This case not only emphasizes the importance of a well-drafted and comprehensive Employment Agreement but also offers valuable insight regarding the employees’ obligation to act reasonably in light of the circumstances.